Kirk Westphal developed expertise in interviewing and video storytelling during his former career in advertising and marketing research during 12 years of living in New York City, where he interviewed thousands of people for consumer products companies. Advertising agencies and consultants used him as their go-to person for conducting videotaped "man on the street" interviews.
He brought this experience to the field of urban planning with the creation of Insights into a Lively Downtown
, an award-winning 2006 documentary film capturing the essence of vibrant city blocks from a pedestrian's perspective. The 19-minute documentary has been cited as one of the best urban planning videos on the internet and is the top hit on YouTube for "urban planning". He has recently released Great Street Toolkit
, a follow-up to Insights into a Lively Downtown
. Since founding Westphal Associates
, an urban research and video production firm, Kirk has helped organizations and municipalities research a variety of subjects.
Kirk currently serves as the vice chair of the Ann Arbor City Planning Commission
and serves as its liasion to the city's Environmental Commission. He's also a member of the Downtown Design Guidelines Task Force and a member of Washtenaw Toastmasters
. He received a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Michigan.
Kirk lives with his wife and two sons in northeast Ann Arbor, where his family shares one car. He rides the #2C bus four days a week, and on the weekend for kicks. A marathon runner, he is intrigued by parkour, the athletic art of hurdling obstacles in your path. The sport is particularly well-suited for urban environments.
He is nearing his 6-month anniversary of exclusively standing at his desk ever since discovering that sitting will make you die faster.