SmithGroup announces new leaders for Urban Design Practice

Team of Dan Kinkead and Michael Johnson to build on firm’s legacy of urban design combining architecture, landscape architecture, engineering and planning

Dan Kinkead, AIA, has joined SmithGroup as co-leader of the firm’s Urban Design Practice. He will team with Urban Design Practice Co-Leader Michael Johnson, ASLA.

With Kinkead based at SmithGroup’s Detroit office and Johnson in its Ann Arbor location, the two will build on a firm legacy of urban design that fuses architecture, landscape architecture, engineering, and planning. 

“Dan Kinkead brings great range and depth of expertise to our firm, including his recent community-based work with Detroit Future City,” said Mike Medici, AIA, president and managing partner, SmithGroup. “He and Michael Johnson are both engaging and collaborative designers. Their partnership and leadership will generate tremendous insight and innovation for our clients.”

Dan Kinkead brings nearly 20 years of experience in urban design and research to SmithGroup, most recently as director of projects for Detroit Future City. As an architect and urban designer, Kinkead has a portfolio that includes transformative projects for Columbia University and Michigan State University, as well as urban district designs in continental Europe and China. He has served as an advisory member for the U.S. State Department’s submission to the 2016 Venice Biennale, and as a graphic contributor to global urbanization research documents for the World Bank. He is also a chapter author for the recently released book, Post-Industrial Cities: Lessons from North America and Europe, published by Carnegie Mellon and Routledge, UK. Kinkead graduated with a Master of Architecture in Urban Design from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, preceded by a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Kentucky College of Architecture. 

Urban Design Practice Co-Leader Michael Johnson joined SmithGroup in 2008. He is a firm principal and lead designer with a keen ability to understand and solve complex urban challenges. Johnson’s experience spans a wide range of markets and geographies, from top U.S. research universities to major destinations in China, Puerto Rico, Bali and Cyprus. He has led high-profile projects in cities across the U.S., including Detroit, Cleveland, Denver, Las Vegas, Indianapolis, Omaha and El Paso. Among his most recent work is a master plan for Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn campus, guiding a transformation into a modern, green and high-tech campus to foster innovation and help drive the company’s transition into an auto and mobility company.

Johnson has received international recognition as a finalist in urban design competitions in Cleveland, British Columbia, Dallas and Detroit. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Landscape Architecture Foundation and serves as a guest lecturer in the Urban Design Program at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Planning. A graduate of the University of Michigan with a Master of Urban Design, Johnson also holds a Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture from Ball State University.

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