Name:  Rebekah Kik

Title: Director

Department:  Community Planning & Economic Development

How long have you lived in Kalamazoo?

Born and raised here. I left for 10 years between school and work elsewhere. 2003-2013

What is your favorite thing about Kalamazoo?

I love that it is full of topography making each neighborhood really unique. The historic architecture, groves of beautiful trees, and I may be in the minority here… the sound of the trains.

What neighborhood do you live in?


What is your educational background/work experience?

I attended Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI where I received my Bachelors and Masters in Architecture (2003). I worked at Eckert Wordell Architects until 2005 when I returned to school to include a Post-Graduate degree from University of Notre Dame – Master of Architectural Design and Urbanism. I spent a nearly a year overseas between school in Rome, and an architectural internship with Robert Adam Architects in Winchester and the Prince’s Foundation in London. I worked on many architectural and urban design projects. At the Prince’s Foundation I helped to complete the design and marketing of a book called “Tradition Today”.

After graduation in 2007, I moved to Pittsburgh, PA and worked for Urban Design Associates until 2008 – I was laid off during the economic crash. I moved to Orlando, FL to work for Glatting-Jackson, a landscape architecture and transportation urban design firm. I moved to Denver, CO 3 months later to help open their new office. I spent 3 years with Glatting, including the transition as the firm was acquired by AECOM.

I was laid off in 2010 by AECOM as the economy generally lagged along. I set up my own firm and consulted with rural planning departments in southern Colorado for 3 years. I returned to Kalamazoo in 2013 and started working for LSL Planning in Grand Rapids, MI. I joined the City of Kalamazoo as the City Planner in late 2014. I became Director of CP&D in 2016. Recently, through several initiatives including Imagine Kalamazoo and Redevelopment Ready Communities Certification, the department of Economic Development has merged to create Community Planning and Economic Development.

What projects are you working on that are related to Imagine Kalamazoo?

  • Complete Streets Policy
  • Downtown Traffic Calming; Two-Way Street Studies
  • Non-Motorized transportation expansion
  • Bicycle Safety and Education Campaign
  • Zoning Ordinance Stress Testing
  • Infill Strategies for Neighborhoods; Affordable Housing
  • Economic Development Strategies for Neighborhood businesses

List a few of your hobbies.

  • Drawing/Painting – mostly buildings

  • Snowboarding

  • Reading – usually 3 books at a time:

o   Any Biography (obsessed with them) – currently reading “Leonardo da Vinci” by Walter Issacson; my favorite biographer.

o   A book re: architecture/urban design/ transportation – currently reading    “Street Fight” by Janette Sadik-Kahn

o   Fiction: currently reading “Under Wildwood”. The third in the Wildwood series

What is your spirit animal and why?

No question – a unicorn. Always has been. I had hundreds of unicorn stickers as a kid. All put into photo albums. When I was 10 my mom gave me a unicorn she had made for me. It was as big as I was then… I still have it. Unicorns always represented that head-in-the-clouds attitude I sometimes have. Most of the time, when it comes to a challenge, I approach problems with childlike curiosity. To that end, people might think I’m a bit simple and definitely not the norm in government work. But, I believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough to follow through and be sure to get people involved. If a community wants something done, we have to find a way to do it together.