Better Know a Cultivator! – Matt Lewis Edition

 That's Matt Lewis, drinking an espresso and looking good.

That's Matt Lewis, drinking an espresso and looking good.

What are you most excited about accomplishing with CULTIVATE! Collaborative?

Our work will be transformative for the communities we serve. The information we will be sharing in our workshops will provide the insight necessary for attendees to go home change agents. I'm excited to experience the results of our work after helping a community. I'm also looking forward to seeing someone from our workshop go home and transform a place on their own. When this happens we have cultivated!

What do you think makes CULTIVATE! Collaborative different?

Together, we have a broad understanding of the elements that make up communities. Our expertise allows us to evaluate each community to map out the best approach for our customers. We also have fun in our work and it's reflected in our Collaborative. 

What trend in planning/development would you like to see die in the next five years?

The poor use and programming of our streets and public realm. Streets should be comfortable for everyone. They should foster relationships and positive random interactions. Instead, streets too often are feared places and places people don't want to be.  

What would you like to see becoming a trend in the next five years?

City processes that support citizens changing their communities on their own.

Who’s out there doing work that you admire?

The Congress for the New Urbanism is doing amazing work to better our cities. Helping pave the way for future cities. 

Way(s) your childhood predicted your current line of work:

I grew up skateboarding the seam of the public and private realms. My life is spent traveling, skating and photographing great streets, buildings, and skate spots. 

 Matt getting some air.

Matt getting some air.


What’s your all-time favorite podcast?

Building Better Cities—It's my life!

Music you’re listening to a lot right now?

I mostly listen to punk music or early jazz and swing music. It depends on whether I'm getting pumped up or trying to chill out. I also love the vibes of MF Doom instrumental. 

Where’s your next vacation?

Life is a vacation, right? My next trip is to Colorado. 

What’s your favorite street in your city?

My favorite street in Austin is Congress Avenue. It's Texas's Main Street. You have beautiful buildings and the terminal vista of the Capitol building on one end of Congress and Walmart and poorly designed places on the other end. Yes, Congress Avenue terminates into the parking lot of Walmart. The other interesting element of Congress Ave is that the economic value of the land corresponds directly to the built environment. The land closer to Walmart is lower in value than the land next to the Capitol. 

 Congress Ave, Austin, TX  (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, LoneStarMike)

Congress Ave, Austin, TX (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, LoneStarMike)


Your go-to weekend activity:

Playing in any and all forms. Swimming, skateboarding and bike riding. 

You’re at a backyard barbecue—what are you drinking? 

Beer. I like beer in, mostly, all flavors. 

Best book you’ve read in the last two years:

Know What to Do When It's Your Turn (and It's Always Your Turn)! – Seth Godin

What’s the first app you open in the morning?


Who's playing you in 'CULTIVATE! The Movie'?

The Rock

Matt Lewis is a CULTIVATE! co-facilitator and is the founder & CEO of SimpleCity Design. Learn more about him here. Follow Matt on Twitter and LinkedIn. Read more posts by Matt.

Cultivator introsMatt Lewis