Svava Riesto

Svava Riesto



Key research areas: critical heritage studies, landscape architecture history and theory, intersections of urban planning, climate change, heritage and politics, social housing, post-industrial urban landscapes, historiography.


Short bio: Svava Riesto is associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of Copenhagen. She studied art history at the Arctic University of Tromsø, at the Freie Universität Berlin and the Univesity of Copenhagen and holds a Phd in landscape architecture from the University of Copenhagen. She has worked severeal years in landscape architecture (SLA) and particpatory urban planning (founding partner of Ekstrakt).



2015-  Associate Professor, University of Copenhagen, Dept. Landscape Architecture and Planning.  

2011-2015   Postdoc Research Fellow, University of Copenhagen, Dept. Landscape Architecture and Planning. (maternal leave 2013)

2007-2012   Phd Fellow, University of Copenhagen, Forest & Landscape.

2006-2011   Co-founding Partner in the urban consultancy Ekstrakt – landscape architecture, participatory planning, urban strategies.

2005- 2006  Head of Communications SLA Landscape Architects.

2004-2005 Art Historian  SLA Landscape Architects.

2001-2005  Part-time Teacher, University of Copenhagen, Dept of Art and Cultural Studies, Art history (maternal leave 2003).

2001-2001   Editor, The Danish Town Planning Institute.



2012   PhD, Landscape architecture and planning, University of Copenhagen, LIFE.

2001   MA ( Art history, University of Copenhagen, Faculty of the Humanitites

1997   BA  Art history, The Arctic University of Norway Tromsø, Dept. of Art History and Literature Science.

1995-96   Erasmus Grant Student, Freie Universität Berlin, art history, ethnology, history.




2019-2021 EU Hera project PuSH Public Space in Social Housing – leader of sub-project on Heritage

2019-2022 EU Cost action grant Writing Urban Places. New Narratives of the European City, co-applicant.

2017-2020  The Danish Council for Independent Research, Humanities for  Reconfiguring Welfare Landscapes, co-applicant

2011-2015 The Cultural Agency of Denmark/Realdania, Post-doc scholarship for Large-scale planned urban areas in urban preservation –heuristic strategies and theories.

2007-2011  The Cultural Agency of Denmark, the University of Copenhagen and Carlsberg Properties Aps. PhD scholarship on Transformation of urban industrial urban sites.

Various grants for publication, travel, exhibitions etc. by the Dreyer Foundation, Politikenfonden, Letterstadska Fonden, Tuborgfonden, The Danish Arts Foundation and more.



2014   The Eslargart honorary scholarship for “research within the history of Danish garden art and its preservation”.

2013-2014 prize invited design competition for Statens Museum for Kunst’s new entrance and garden, My role: site analysis and historical consultant for team Karres et Brands/Polyform. In 2015, this garden was awarded with the City of Copenhagen's Building Award (Københavns Kommunes Bygningspræmiering).

2010   The Haastrup honorary scholarship for “outstanding contribution” to the “success and internationalization of the research conference World in Denmark 2010” entitled As Found.

2005   1st prize invited design competition for development plan for Valby Idrætspark. Participant in team SLA (where I was then employed. My role: site analysis, programming, design critique).



Since 2016 Member of the editorial advisory board of the journal Nordic Journal of Settlement History, Swedish Science Press.

Since 2016, Member of Udvalget for Nyere Tid, Landsforeningen for bygnings- og landskabskultur. (Expert panel to advise in matters concerning the future of 20th century architecture and designed landscapes).

Since 2014 Co-founder and University of Copenhagen’s organizer in the Öresund Design Research Seminars.

2009-2012   Scientific committee member of the World in Denmark conference series on landscape-based urbanism.

2012   Advisory Board member, Hedehusene: Industrikulturens grænseløse kulturarv i byfornyelsen, Høje Tåstrup municipality/Ministeriet for By, Bolig og Landdistrikter.

2008   Expert panel member, the heritage and future development of Christiania discussion.

2008   Copenhagen X, member of the Urban Panel, Danish Centre for Architecture.

2001   Secretary for the expert board of the EU-project European Cities in a Global Era. Urban Identities and Regional Development, Danish Ministry of the Environment.




Phd assessment committees at universities and architecture schools in 2018, 2017, 2016 2015

Teaching Phd courses on research methodologies, experimental writing techniques, historiography, theory, app. one each year since 2012.

Supervision of 2 Phd theses, since 2017, 1 successfully completed 2020.



Invited speaker and panellist in a broad range of international academic contexts (in 2019 e.g. TU Delft and ETH Zürich) as well as in local urban contexts, such as grass root activism (in 2019 e.g. Folkemøde Sydhavn and Nordvest Lokalråd).

Since 2001   Design critic writing for ‘Scape International Magazine for Landscape and Urbanism, Topos the International Review of Landscape Architecture, Landskab, Arkitekten, Arkitektur NO, Arkitektur DK, Landscape Architecture Europe etc. Newspaper articles about heritage, urban regeneration, housing etc.

2015-2018 Chair of the international public lecture series Copenhagen Landscape Lectures, University of Copenhagen, Section of Landscape Architecture. (With Rikke Munck Petersen and Natalie Gulsrud).

2009- 2014   Co-organizer of the international conference series World in Denmark on landscapes and urbanism, entitled Nordic Encounters, City Plantastic, Fear of Nature, As Found.

2014   Curator, the exhibition Revisit 1960s-1970s Suburbia, showing MA student projects at the University of Copenhagen.

2012   Curator, the exhibition Albertslunds Grønne Øhav, Albertslund city hall, a collaboration between the University of Copenhagen, Kroppedal Museum and Albertslund municipality..

2005-2006   Curator, the solo-exhibition Wunderstadt (SLA landscape architecture, urban space and planning), Galerie Aedes Berlin.

2001   Co-organizer of international research, planning and policy conference EUROPEAN CITIES IN A GLOBAL ERA. Urban identities and regional development, for the Danish EU Presidency (Danish Ministry of the Environment/Danish Town Planning Institute).



2013-14 Frederiksværk Stålsatte Byrum Design competition by invitation for a heritage-based strategy for revitalizing an industrial town through encompassing urban space renewal, cultural planning, and citizen-driven strategic initiatives, pre-qualified and selected for the 2. Phase. Team: LIW Planning, Entasis Architects and 2-1 Ideas Agency. My role: site analysis, design critique, strategy for heritage definition and participatory strategic development and communication plan.

2013  Pilot project competition for transformation of derelict rural schools into cultural centres, Horbelev fra Skole til Kulturgård by the trust Lokale- og Anlægsfonden. Realized 2015. Team: Polyform. My role: site analysis, design critique, program analysis, dialogue workshops with users.

2012-13 Architecture competition by invitation Statens Museum for Kunst’s new entrance and garden, 1st price and realized in 2014, Team: Consultant for team Karres et Brands/Polyform. My role: historical site analysis, design critique, communication.

2012  Architecture competition by invitation, Kommunikationslinjen Urban space renewal Svendborg. Pre-qualified. Consultant for Effect/Masu Planning. My role: site analysis, design critique, communication.

2012  Architecture competition by invitation New Rock Museum, Roskilde, Musicon, 1st prize. Team: Cobe/MVRDV/LIW Planning. My role: communication consultant for LIW Planning.

2010  Architecture competition by invitation for the strategic development of Køge Southern Harbor and Town Centre, Pre-qualified and selected for the 2nd Phase. Team: Gromtij, Polyform, 2+1, Ekstrakt. My role: site analysis, user involvement-strategy, programming, design critique.

2007  Public meetings and vision plan for the strategic development of Køge Southern Harbor and Town Centre. My role: consulting the process in which various stake-holders, municipal departments etc. together formulated a vision, which I helped writing together with Karen Margrethe Krogh (Ekstrakt). Commissioner: The city of Køge

2006  Densification of Greve’s single family housing areas, user involvement strategy and vision plan in collaboration with planners, politicians and local residents. My role: workshops and dialogue platforms, producing scenarios in collaboration with Barbara Wandall and Karen Margrethe Krogh (Ekstrakt). Commissioner: The City of Greve

2006    Architecture competition by invitation Superkilen urban space design, Pre-qualified. Team: Spektrum. My role: site analysis, user involvement strategy, programming, participation in concept development, communication, together with Karen M. Krogh and Barbara Wandall (Ekstrakt).

2006    User involvement strategy for the urban square revitalization of Toftegårds Plads, Copenhagen. My role: Conceptualizing and carrying out the targeted user involvement workshops with various user groups in collaboration with Barbara Wandall (Ekstrakt). Commissioner: The City of Copenhagen.

2005   Open architecture competition Park am Gleisdreieck, Berlin. Pre-qualified and selected for the 2nd Phase. Team: SLA. My role: site analysis, design critique, programming, workshops with users.

2005   Architecture Competition by invitation Valby Idrætspark, 1st prize. Team: SLA. My role: programming, design critique participation in concept development, communication.

2004   Architecture Competition Mølleparken Århus, recommended by the professional jurors. Team SLA. My role: site-analysis, preservation strategy, co- developing concept, communication.

2003   Open architecture competition Alexanderplatz open space renewal. Team: SLA. My role: site-analysis, design critique, text.

2002   Open architecture Competition Die Sünderstaffel, Stuttgart – Friedhof der Zukunft. Design team together with Stine Poulsen and Anne Tietjen. Selected in the 2nd round (Engere Auswahl) My role: site-analysis, programming, participation in concept development, text.



Native speaker: Norwegian (1st mother tongue) and German (2nd mother tongue)

Full professional proficiency: Danish, English




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