Gareth Doherty

Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Program

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture

Gareth Doherty’s research and teaching focus on the intersections between landscape architecture and anthropology. Doherty's recent research projects have centered on landscape-related practices at various sites across the postcolonial and Islamic worlds, specifically in the Arabian peninsula, West Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Doherty’s work is framed around two primary questions. First, how can theoretical, educational and design possibilities be expanded and diversified through working in societies where there is no formal landscape architecture discipline? Second, how through a comparative understanding of landscapes and cultural practices can landscape architects more sensitively work outside of their own societies, with respect and deference for others’ values and ways of life?

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 the 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.

At Harvard, Doherty has most recently taught in the First Semester Core Landscape Architecture Studio; the Proseminar in Landscape Architecture, Proseminar in Urbanism, Landscape and Ecology; an elective seminar titled Design Anthropology: Objects, Landscapes and Cities—cross-listed with the Department of Anthropology, and in which undergraduates as well as graduate students participate—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 is principal investigator. The project is based in the Critical Landscapes Design Lab, which Doherty leads.

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