Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto

Associate Professor

Svava Riesto is art historian, doctor of landscape architecture, and associate professor at the University of Copenhagen. Her research centres on the histories and heritage of landscapes and cities. She focuses on 20th-century urban landscapes and their becoming, historiographies, uses, cultural meanings, politics and imagined futures.


Currently, Svava Riesto leads the research project Women in Danish Architecture (2020–23, funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark, Realdania, National Building Fund, Dreyer, Danish Arts Foundation and Boyes Fond). She also leads the sub-project on European Social Housing as Living Heritage as part of the project PuSH: Public Space in European Social Housing (2019–21, funded by EU HERA), and the sub-project about social practices in the project Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes (2018-2021, funded by Independent Research Fund Denmark).


Svava Riesto studied art history at the Arctic University of Tromsø, Freie Universität Berlin and University of Copenhagen, where she also gained her PhD in landscape architecture and urbanism. She has worked for several years in participatory design and community-based heritage. She is concerned with how research and education can engage with local communities and the public to contribute to more just, inclusive and sustainable landscapes.


Svava Riesto has published widely in journals and edited collections on the history and criticism of landscape architecture and urban design, and the nexus of urban development, heritage and climate change. Her 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). She has edited more than 10 volumes, including special issues of Landscape Research, Nordic Journal of Architecture and Periskop: Forum for Art History Debate, and sits on the advisory board of Nordic Journal of Settlement History and Built Heritage. The exhibitions she has curated include, for example, Wunderstadt at the Galerie Aedes, Berlin and Albertslunds Øhav at the local town hall Albertslund. 


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


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

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