Sonja Dümpelmann

Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University

Sonja Dümpelmann is Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD) where she teaches history and theory courses. She was previously an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland (2007-2012), and Auburn University (2005-2007) where she taught design studios and history and theory classes. She holds a Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture from the University of the Arts, Berlin, and an MLA from Leibniz Universität Hannover. Dümpelmann has curated exhibitions on landscape history in Germany, and has worked as a landscape designer in Studio Paolo Bürgi, Switzerland. She has held research fellowships at the German Historical Institute, and at Dumbarton Oaks, Washington DC.

Dümpelmann has lectured internationally and she was appointed 2015 August-Wilhelm Scheer Visiting Professor at the Technical University Munich. Her research and writing focuses on 19th- and 20th-century landscape history, and contemporary landscape architecture in the Western world, with a particular focus on the urban environment in Germany, Italy, and the United States. Her work explores the transatlantic transfer of ideas, the role of politics, technology and science, and the work of women in the field.

Dümpelmann is the author of "Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees in New York City and Berlin" (Yale University Press, 2019), "Flights of Imagination: Aviation, Landscape, Design" (University of Virginia Press, 2014; 2015 John Brinkerhoff Jackson Book Prize), and of a book on the Italian landscape architect Maria Teresa Parpagliolo Shephard (VDG Weimar, 2004). Her edited volumes include "Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age" (together with Charles Waldheim; Harvard GSD, 2016), "Women, Modernity and Landscape Architecture" (together with John Beardsley; Routledge, 2015), "A Cultural History of Gardens in the Age of Empire" (Bloomsbury, 2013), "Greening the City: Urban Landscapes in the Twentieth Century" (together with Dorothee Brantz; University of Virginia Press, 2011), and "Pückler and America" (German Historical Institute Washington DC, 2007). Dümpelmann has published articles in Landscape Journal, Landscape Research, Planning Perspectives, Studies in the History of Gardens and Designed Landscapes, Stadtbauwelt, Stadt und Grün, Die Gartenkunst, Journal of Landscape Architecture, and others. Her work has been supported by grants from the Graham Foundation, and the Foundation for Landscape Studies.

Dümpelmann serves as Senior Fellow of Garden and Landscape Studies at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington D.C., and is the past President of the Landscape History Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians (2013-16). At the GSD, she has served as area head of the History and Philosophy of Design track of the Master in Design Studies program.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University