Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto


I am art historian, PhD in landscape architecture, and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. My research centres broadly on the histories and legacies of 20th century urban landscapes; their becoming, historiographies, uses, cultural meanings, politics and imagined futures.


Currently, I lead the research project Women in Danish Architecture together with Henriette Steiner. The project aims to contribute to a more inclusive understanding of Danish architecture history 1925-1975 and is funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark, Realdania, National Building Fund, Dreyer, Danish Arts Foundation and Boyes Fond (2020–23).

I also lead the sub-project on European Social Housing as Living Heritage as part of the HERA-funded project PuSH: Public Space in European Social Housing (2019–21). The project conceptualises European large-scale social housing estates as sites of publicness in the past, present and future.

The third project that I am working in is Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes, which aims to establish a new understanding of landscapes of Danish post-war housing estates as ‘welfare landscapes’. I lead the sub-project on social practices. (2018-2021, funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark). 


Publications on the history and criticism of landscape architecture and urban design, and the nexus of urbanism, heritage and climate change. My most recent books are Biography of an Industrial Landscape: Carlsberg’s Urban Spaces Retold (2017) and Vademecum: 77 Minor Terms for Writing Urban Places (2020, co-edited with Havik, Pint and Steiner). More than 10 edited volumes, including special issues of Landscape Research, Nordic Journal of Architecture and Periskop: Forum for Art History Debate. Curated exhibitions include, for example, Wunderstadt at the Galerie Aedes, Berlin, Albertslunds Øhav at the local town hall Albertslund and, most recently, the living-heritage section of the European exhibitions PuSH.


Current teaching, supervision and mentoring

Upcoming PhD course 2021: Architecture, Landscape and Gender: Rethinking Theory, Methodology and practice

MSc course leader, Theories and Methods of Landscape Architecture

BSc course leader, Landskabsarkitekturens historie, nutid og fremtid

MSc and BSc dissertation supervisor


Postdoctoral mentor for Heidi Svenningsen Kajita, (Im)possible Instructions: Inscribing Use-Value in the Architectural Design Process, international postdoc based at Newcastle University, funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2019–21


Supervisor for postdoctoral reseracher Jannie Rosenberg Bendsen Kvinder i dansk arkitektur, together with Henriette Steiner. Project funded by Realdania, Denmarks Idependent Research Council, Danish Arts Foundation, National Building Fund, Dreyers Foundation, Boyes Foundation. 2020-2023.


Main PhD supervisor for Lærke Keil, Practising Welfare Landscapes: The Social Roles of an Architectural Element in Albertslund Syd, funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2018–21. Co-supervisor Tom Avermaete.

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