Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto

Associate Professor

Member of:

Svava Riesto is an associate professor in the history of landscape architecture and leader of the new the research group Landscape Architecture and Urban History. 

Her research intersects architectural history with heritage studies to investigate questions of justice, ecology, climate and social change in cities and landscapes. She focusses on the buildings, cites and landscapes of the 20th century welfare states - their histories, legacies and heritage futures. To do so, Svava Riesto develops collaborative formats for research and teaching, often by engaging with with local communities, NGOs, museums, artists and wider publics.

From 2020-2024, Svava Riesto leads the project Women in Danish Architecture 1925-1975. A new history of practice and gender together with Henriette Steiner. The project contributes to building a more just and comprehensive understanding of how the buildings, landscapes and cities of the Danish welfare state came about, focusing on collaboration across genders and practices. You can read an interview with Svava Riesto about how the project develops new approaches to existing archives and works with public scholarship to build new archives here. The book Untold Stories. On women, gender and architecture in Denmark, co-written by Jannie Rosenberg Bendsen, Svava Riesto and Henriette Steiner is now out in an English and a Danish edition.

She is currently working on a book on feminist and transnational approaches in architectural history, co-edited with Henriette Steiner, deGruyter, to be published in 2024.



Among Svava Riesto's books are Biography of an Industrial Landscape: Carlsberg’s Urban Spaces Retold (Amsterdam University Press 2017), ByWomen. A guidebook to everyday architecture in Greater Copenhagen (Ikaros Press, 2021, with Liv Løvetand Rahbek and Henriette Steiner) and has co-edited Vademecum: 77 Minor Terms for Writing Urban Places (NAi Publishers 2020, with Havik, Pint and Steiner), European Mass Housing Landscapes (special issue of Landscape Research with Braae, Tietjen, Steiner, 2021) and Forankring i Forandring. Christiania og bevaring som ressource i byomdannelse (ed. with Tietjen, Skov, Arkitektskolens Forlag).  She edited 10+ academic volumes on architecture, landscape architecture and urbanism, and her articles have appeared in journals such as the International Journal of Heritage Studies, Journal of Architecture and Kritische Berichte.


Exhibitions and outreach

With the team of Women in Danish Architecture, Svava Riesto received the IGN Science communications award in 2022 for the project’s strong engagement with the public.

As part of Aktionarkiv, Svava Riesto co-organizes public oral history seminars, participatory events and exhibitions to foreground actors and perspectives that don't usually make it to the archive. 

Svava Riesto co-curated the living-heritage section of the HERA-funded research-based exhibitions PuSH Public Space in European Social Housing (shown at universities and local community centres in Naples, Wroclaw, Copenhagen, Bern, 2019-2022). 

Svava Riesto has given invited lectures at a broad range of international universities and architecture schools, such as ETH Zürich, VU Amsterdam, Humboldt University Belin and the TU Delft.


Current teaching, supervision and mentoring

MSc course leader, Theories and Methods of Landscape Architecture

BSc course leader, Landskabsarkitekturens historie, nutid og fremtid

MSc and BSc dissertation supervisor


Current post-doctoral and PhD supervision

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 the Independent Research Fund Denmark, 2019–23

Supervisor for postdoctoral researcher Jannie Rosenberg Bendsen Women in Danish Architecture, together with Henriette Steiner. Project funded by Realdania, the Danish Arts Foundation, National Building Fund, Dreyer’s Foundation, Karin and Georg Boye’s Foundation. 2020-2023.

PhD supervisor for Anne Pind, "Eco-feminist spatial practises: Sweden and Denmark at the beginning of the 20th Century" The Danish Academy, School of Architecture, co-supervisor

PhD supervisor for Nicole De Lalouviere, "Irrigation Systems of Canton Valais. Transformations in Material Culture and the Resilience of Landscape Commons", ETH Zürich, co-supervisor

Completed PhD-projects (as main supervisor)

Lærke Sophie Keil: "Microhistories of Landscape Elements in Albertslund Syd: Plant Beds, a Canal and Garden Fences of Welfare", Graduated 2022

Ann-Charlott Erichsen: "Into the green facades. On the values ascribed to a popular cultural phenomenon in contemporary urban development", Graduated 2019 



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