Thaisa Way

Director of Garden & Landscape Studies, Dumbarton Oaks
Areas of Expertise:

About Thaisa

Thaisa Way FASLA, FAAR, BS UC Berkeley, M’ArchH UVa, PhD Cornell University is a landscape historian whose research and teaching engage history, theory, and design. After 15 years in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle she has taken on the leadership of Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks, a research institute under the stewardship of the Trustees of Harvard University. In this position she stewards emerging scholarship in histories and narratives of land, place, and landscape as well as serving as the Principal Investigator for the Mellon funded initiative.

In the News

"Parks Help Cities – but Only if People Use Them," Thaisa Way, The Conversation, November 20, 2018.
"10 City Parks that Changed America," Thaisa Way (with Dan Protess and Geoffrey Baer), Advisory Committee and Featured Interviews, PBS, April 12, 2016.
Guest to discuss landscape architecture on Women in the Dirt: Landscape Architects Shaping Our World, Thaisa Way (with film directed and produced by Carolann Stoney: Wind Media Productions), 2011.


"“Landscapes of Industrial Excess: A Thick Sections Approach to Gas Works Park" Journal of Landscape Architecture 8, no. 1 (2013): 28-39.

Demonstrates the idea of the thick section, or the need to understand urban landscapes as far more complex than the simple grass and trees we see. Mentions how we should understand the toxins and the organic matter that are below the surface in order to address the challenges of healing the landscape. Concludes we need to know the stories of how these places came to be, if we are going to genuinely seek to re-imagine them as public parks and community spaces.