Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto

Associate Professor

Svava Riesto, PhD, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Copenhagen.

Svava Riesto's research interests lie in the the cultural studies of urban landscapes, cities and architecture, specifically from the 20th and 21st century - focussing on their production, uses, historiographies, imaginaries and power. A special interest in her reserach is the politics of historiography and urban heritage, and their intersections with urban planning, landscape architecture, and urban climate adaptation. 

News Together with Henriette Steiner, I am hosting a PhD course on Landscape, Architecture and Gender in October/November 2020. 

Current research projets

Public Space in Social Housing (PuSH)  Leader of the work package on Heritage (2020-2022).

The project aims to push forward our knowledge about the integration processes and cultural encounters that take place in shared spaces on social housing estates in Europe. PuSH explores the concept of publicness through the lense of cultural heritage, informalities/formalities, democracy and policymaking by studying the dynamic relationships between people and places on-site.  

Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes. The Past, present and future of Danish social housiing (Danish Independent Research Fund- FKK), leader of the sub-project on urban practices 

The project explores the relationship between landscape and welfare by examining large-scale housing estates in Denmark 1950-1975 as  'Welfare landscapes'. Not only were these landscapes planned, designed and realised with a great share of public resources from the welfare state, they are also entangled with discussions about the meanings and material dimensions of welfare - between collective and individual, freedom and control, humans and 'nature'. The project explores approaches to address social housing estates as welfare landscapes in the past, present and possible futures.

Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European CityCOST-action. Leader of working group on theory

This network is concerned with how theoretical reflections can stimulate the thinking and praxis of narrating urban places of medium-sized European cities. In 2019-2020,  Svava Riesto is co-editing the book 100 Minor Concepts for Writing Urban Places- a Vademecum together with Klaske Havik, Kris Pint and Henriette Steiner. 


Chair of the Öresund Design Research Seminars.



Svava Riesto is author of Biography of an Industrial Landscape. Carlsberg's Urban Spaces Retold (Amsterdam University Press 2018). The book develops biography as a critical writing practice to explore industrial open spaces from a dynamic and relational perspective with the case of the former Carlsberg breweries in Copenhagen.

The book Forandring i Forandring. Christiania og bevaring som ressource i byudvikling presents the freetown Christiania as a laboratory for alternative and critical architectural and urban preservation practices. (Co-edited with A. Tietjen and P. Skov, 2007).

Publications in journals and books on critical heritage studies, landscape architecture, cultural studies and urbanism, as well as feature and review articles in professional magazines as an architecture- and heritage critic.


Teaching, supervision, mentoring

Theories and Methods of Landscape Architecture, MSc course, course responsible

Landskabsarkitektens historie, nutid og fremtid, BSc, course responsible

MSc and BSc thesis supervision

Post-doc mentor for Heidi Svenningsen Kajita (Im)possible instructions. Inscribing use-value in the architectural design process). International post-doc based at Newcastle University (Independent Reserach Fund Denmark 2019-2021)

Phd supervisor for Lærke Keil: Practicing Welfare Landscapes – The social role of an architectural element in Albertslund Syd. (main supervisor). The Independent Resesarch Fund Denmark (2018-2020)

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