Section for Landscape Architecture and Planning – University of Copenhagen

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Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto

Associate Professor

  • Landscape Architecture and Planning

    Rolighedsvej 23

    1958 Frederiksberg C

    Phone: +45 35 33 17 68

Svava Riesto's research explores how people interact with urban landscapes in the context of spatial planning, design and heritage making. She specializes in 20th and 21st century architecture, cities and landscapes and their transformation between shifting cultural ideas, social practices and materiaities. Her work intersects art history, critical heritage studies, urban and cultural history, landscape/architecture theory, and design criticism.  


Svava is educated as an art historian at the Arctic University of Tromsø, Norway, the Freie Universität Berlin and Copenhagen University, from where she has a Phd in landscape architecture. She also has more than 10 years experience from landscape architecture, cultural heritage and participatory planning practice. 


Currently leading Practicing Welfare Landscapes. Biographical perspectives on Danish post-war social housing estates, which is a sub-project of the interdisciplinary research project "Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes" (2017-2020), funded by The Danish Council for Independent Research, Humanities.



Author of numerous articles and books, including Biography of an Industrial Landscape. Carlsberg's Urban Spaces Retold (Amsterdam University Press 2018), which proposes a biographical approach to industrial open spaces, and Forankring i Forandring. Christiania og bevaring som ressource i byudvikling (ed. with A. Tietjen, P. Skov, Arkitektskolens Forlag 2007), which speculates on how the free-town Christiania challenges established cultural heritage management practices and may stimulate alternatives.

Themed journal issues, e.g. As Found (Nordic Journal of Architecture 2011, with E. Braae) and Arkitektur og Kvantitet (Periskop, with M. Søberg and M. Bogish, 2016). Exhibitions on historical and contempoary urbanism, e.g. Wunderstadt - SLA (Galerie Aedes Berlin).




Chairing the session Revisiting public landscapes of post-war cities at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies' (ACHS) conference in Hangzhou, September 2018, together with Catharina Nolin.


Organizing the Re:Scape Colloquium Biographies of Welfare Landscapes, Clue +, Vrije University Amsterdam/University of Copenhagen/TU Delft, 7. June  2018. 


Funding organizer of the Öresund Design Research Seminars and the organizer of the Copenhagen Landscape Lectures.


Member of the heritage board Nyere Tids Arkitektur, Landsforeningen Bygnings- og Landskabskultur and of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.


 Phd supervision:

Ann-Charlott Eriksen: Green facades as boundary-crossing objects in practice, research and as cultural artifacts in the urban spaces. Main supervisor since 2017. 

Lærke Keil: Practicing Welfare Landscapes: A biographical exploration of post-war housing landscapes. Main supervisor since 2017.

Teaching varoious Phd Courses, in average one pr. year since 2013. 



Course responsible for the MSc course Theories and Methods of Landscape Architecture,

Supervision of Msc and Bsc theses

Svava Riesto has been guest-teacher in various contexts, including Sheffield University's School of Architecture, the Technical University Delft's Faculty of Architecture and the Oslo School of Architecture.


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