Leaving an imprint on cities around the globe

Michael King on street.
Michael King, AB'87, has worked in cities around the globe to improve urban and street design.

Washington University alumnus Michael King has worked on every continent except Australia and Antarctica to make cities more livable, safer and better prepared for the future.

As a “traffic calmer,” King is helping to reinvent the way we view urban environments.

Traffic calming is an approach to urban design that aims to reduce traffic and improve safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclists. Though the concept has been around since the 1960s, King notes it is just now beginning to be incorporated into the design of streets upfront rather than after the fact.

After graduating from Washington University with a degree in architecture in 1987, King went on to earn a master of architecture degree from Columbia University. He then worked five years as the director of traffic calming in New York City’s department of transportation. King co-wrote the urban street design guide for the National Association of City Transportation Officials and authored Chicago’s complete-streets guides. He has also helped write guides for cities like Abu Dhabi and Toronto. Today, King leads the Mobility Group for the Americas at BuroHappold Cities, an international engineering consultancy.

I’m trained as an architect, but at the end of the day, I’m not interested in buildings,” King says. “My thing is the space between buildings.”

Read about King and his work in Washington Magazine.