Kathleen Duffy

  • Kathleen_Duffy_SmithGroup
  • Ann Arbor

“Brainstorming and sticky notes bring out the best in me,” says Kathleen, an urban planner based in Detroit. “There’s nothing better than convening experts and local stakeholders in a charrette to come up with an innovative solution.” And for Kathleen, the more interdisciplinary the better. “Planning was a natural fit for me because my interests are so varied. Planning is practically every school subject rolled up into one fun career.” The fun is layered atop a visionary foundation. “Just about every planner chooses this career to change the world,” Kathleen suggests. For her it was “seeing farms replaced by subdivisions of boring McMansions” in Metro Detroit in the 1990s and wondering, “How do we make the entire neighborhood better?” Apart from her career, Kathleen gets to regularly realize her dreams on stage, active in community theater. “I sing, dance and act,” she says, “and take a lot of off-stage roles too—producer, choreographer and most frequently, costumer.”