Rapid Urbanism
 is a progressive school of thought for building inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities in the global south at high speed and at large scale in order to make a contribution that is meaningful, given the unprecedented magnitude and velocity of the urbanization process—despite of constrained capacities and resources particularly in the public sector and amongst civil society actors. The challenges tackled include, but are not limited to, the rapid and equitable delivery of urban land, housing, infrastructure and services, as well as life-affirming jobs. To achieve its mission, Rapid Urbanism promotes a box of tools for spatial and socioeconomic development that fruitfully complement each other. This toolbox is also referred to as the Rapid Urbanism Pattern Language. Rapid Urbanism addresses policy makers, community activists, architects, urban designers and planners as well as other actors in rapidly urbanizing cities of the global south. Read more here.


Matt Nohn, a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, promotes Rapid Urbanism: a progressive school of thought for building more sustainable, more inclusive and more resilient cities at high speed and at large scale. During his Loeb Fellowship, Matt collected the architectural and planning patterns, economic and financial tools, social and organizing strategies, as well as legal, political and institutional instruments that form the Rapid Urbanism Pattern Language. Matt is an expert for international development and poverty reduction in rapidly growing cities. His focus is the strengthening of self-managed organizations of the urban poor and their inclusion into formal governance and markets. Matt’s work bridges smoothly between academic research and on-the-ground action: besides contracts with international clients, he serves as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard, as academic faculty (e.g. as Lecturer at the Mundus Urbano Program in Europe and the Master in Urban Management Studies at TU Berlin), and as Advisor to the Mahila Housing SEWA Trust, India and the Affordable Housing Institute, Boston/MA. Originally a bricklayer, Matt holds postgraduate degrees in Architecture and Planning, International Affairs, and in Public Policy with specialization in political and economic development. Read more about Matt here.

Partners. I want to thank the Loeb Fellowship Program, the Graduate School of Design, the Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard University, the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, as well as the Special Interest Group in Urban Settlement, the Department of Architecture and the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the unparalleled resources made available to me when developing the Rapid Urbanism intellectual framework that is rooted in and inspired by the professional experience and intellectual knowledge of many. Without this support, I would not only lack the ability to dedicate time but also the access to invaluable information, without which this work could never be done.

Find valuable resources—including bibliography, sources, links, partners, etc—here.