Gareth Doherty

Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Gareth Doherty is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture and Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Using an ethnographic approach, Doherty explores diverse forms of knowledge that constitute landscape architecture. Each of Doherty’s publications, including Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-Stateexpands the limits and scope of landscape architectural theory and design by considering human ecology alongside environmental and aesthetic concerns. Doherty’s research broadens discussions on ethnography and participatory methods by asking how a socio-cultural perspective can inspire design innovations. Consequently, his work challenges and expands the canons upon which we understand landscape architecture.

Doherty bases his work on two questions. First, how can landscape architecture theory, education, and practice benefit from working with societies with no formal landscape architecture discipline? Second, how does comparing landscapes of diverse societies better inform landscape architects’ sensitivity to the values that shape others’ attitudes towards the landscapes they dwell in and make? Doherty addresses these questions through research on designed landscapes across the postcolonial and Islamic worlds, primarily in the Arabian Peninsula, West Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

In Doherty's book, Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State (University of California Press, 2017), Doherty analyzed a Bahraini category for landscape—greenery—al-khudra in Arabic. He spent a year walking through Bahrain, learning local language, talking with people, and recording his encounters with green, as color and as an environmental movement. The paradox at the heart of the book is that the manifestation of the color green in arid urban environments is often in direct conflict with the practice of green from an environmental point of view. Explicit in the book is the argument that concepts of color and object are mutually defining, and thus a discussion about green becomes a discussion about the creation of space and place.

Doherty’s edited books include: Roberto Burle Marx Lectures: Landscape as Art and Urbanism (Lars Müller Publishers, 2018); and Is Landscape…? Essays on the Identity of Landscape, edited with Charles Waldheim (Routledge, 2015, and China Architecture and Building Press, 2019). Doherty is a founding editor of the New Geographies  journal and editor-in-chief of New Geographies 3: Urbanisms of Color (2011). Doherty edited Ecological Urbanism (Lars Müller Publishers, 2010, revised 2016) with Mohsen Mostafavi, which has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese, with forthcoming translations in Arabic and Persian. Doherty has published in journals such as Built EnvironmentHarvard Design Magazine, Kerb, Toposand Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes.

Doherty received the Doctor of Design degree from Harvard GSD and his Master of Landscape Architecture and Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Pennsylvania. He earned masters and undergraduate degrees from University College Dublin. He has several built landscape architectural projects, and he holds professional memberships in Denmark, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

In Spring 2021, Doherty teaches Landscape Fieldwork: People, Politics, Practices—cross-listed between the Departments of Landscape Architecture and Anthropology—and in Fall 2020, led the Proseminar in Landscape Architecture for Master in Landscape Architecture II students. Other recent courses include the First Semester Core Landscape Architecture StudioProseminar in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology; an elective seminar titled Design Anthropology: Objects, Landscapes and Cities, and in 2017 Doherty led the Ecological Urbanism Field Research Seminar in China. In 2019, with Niall Kirkwood, Doherty led an option studio, “Field Work: Brexit, Borders, and a New-City Region for the Irish Northwest,” as part of a larger sponsored research project, “Atlas for a City-Region,” of which he was the principal investigator. The project was part of the Critical Landscapes Design Lab, which Doherty leads.

Doherty has lectured and taught undergraduate- and postgraduate-level studios, courses, and workshops internationally. He has taught at the Architectural Association, Aarhus School of Architecture, Aalborg University, the Berlage Institute, Kingston University London, Queensland University of Technology, RMIT University, and the University of Sheffield.