Photograph of Kristin sitting outside of a bakery

Kristin Thorleifsdottir

Assistant Professor
Landscape Architecture
Degrees/Academics
BA Fine Arts, Auburn University Montgomery, MLA Landscape Architecture and PhD Community and Environmental Design, North Carolina State University
Campus Affiliations
Department of Design Studies
Research Interests
environmental planning
sustainable development
public health
urban design
Office
12 Agricultural Hall

Icelandic Federation of Landscape Architects (FILA); served on the Board of Education and the Board of Editors for the journal Arkitektúr issued by FILA and the Association of Icelandic Architects 

Dr. Thorleifsdóttir (or just Thor) joined the University of Wisconsin in Fall 2014.  She holds a joint position with the Department of Landscape Architecture and the Department of Design Studies.

Besides her native home, Iceland, Dr. Thorleifsdóttir draws on her experience of living and/or working in other countries including the United States, England, Germany, Bulgaria, and Turkey in her teaching, research, and designs. After eight years of work and study in the U.S. she returned to Iceland in the fall of 2002 where she taught in the Department of Environmental Planning at the Agricultural University of Iceland (2003-2005), was a lecturer at the Department of Design and Architecture for the Iceland Academy of the Arts (2005-2014) and practiced landscape architecture at a leading architecture and landscape architecture firm in Reykjavik (2005-2008). In 2008 she opened up her own design and research practice Vist & Vera.  Dr. Thorleifsdóttir has also worked part time as a project manager at the Association of Icelandic Architects where she led a  EU project on sustainable architecture (2010-2013). She has been an active member of the Icelandic Federation of Landscape Architects (FILA) and served on the Board of Education and the Board of Editors for the journal Arkitektúr issued by FILA and the Association of Icelandic Architects (co-editor in chief 2012-2014).

Dr. Thorleifsdóttir’s primary research, teaching and design interests span a wide variety of topics including environment and behavior related issues including community health and wellbeing; landscape and site analysis; sustainability and ecological design and children’s environments. She is particularly interested in the influence environmental design and planning have on people’s behavior, attitudes, use, function, as well as health and well-being.

Outside of work she enjoys time with her friends and family, hiking in nature, and exploring urban open spaces and events. On the more artistic side, she paints, works on community sculptures, and has practiced classical singing.

2013

Editor of three handbooks on sustainability in the built environment in Iceland (draft manuscripts in English submitted to the EU-Leonardo da Vinci Lifelong Learnig Programme in November 2013): 

Gudbrandsson, B., Snorrason, A., and Gudmundsson, E. (2014). Selecting Green Building Materials. In K. Thorleifsdottir (Series Ed.): Vol.2. Sustainable Built Environment in Iceland (1 ed.). Reykjavik: Vistmennt and the Association of Icelandic Architects 

Jonsson, M. & Hardarsson, S. (2014) Weather, Climate and the Built Environment. In K. Thorleifsdottir (Series Ed.): Vol.3. Sustainable Built Environment in Iceland (1 ed.). Reykjavik: Vistmennt and the Association of Icelandic Architects. 

Johannsdottir, A. S. (2014). Daylight as an Environmentally Friendly Source of Light. In K. Thorleifsdottir (Series Ed.): Vol.4. Sustainable Built Environment in Iceland (1 ed.). Reykjavik: Vistmennt and the Association of Icelandic Architects. 

2013

Refshauge, A. D., Lamm, B., Stigsdotter, U. K., and Thorleifsdottir, K., Landscape Research (2013): Evidence-based Playground Design: Lessons Learned from Theory to Practice; Landscape Research, DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2013.824073 (ttp://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01426397.2013.824073). 

2012

Journal article (in Icelandic). Visiting public market places (Icel.: Á flakki um markaði). Arkitektúr, 1.2012. Journal of the Association of Icelandic Architects and the Federation of Icelandic Landscape Architects, Reykjavik. 

2010

Journal article (in Icelandic). Paradigms for Planning Sustainable Communities (Icel.: Viðmið fyrir skipulag sjálfbærra samfélaga). Arkitektúr, 1.2010 p.22-25. Journal of the Association of Icelandic Architects and the Federation of Icelandic Landscape Architects, Reykjavik. 

2010

Edited book chapter (in Icelandic). 2010. Designing Physical Activity Stimulating School Environments, in Guidelines for Physical Activity Encouraging Schools (Icel.: Leiðbeiningar fyrir hreyfihvetjandi skólaumhverfi), Icelandic Public Health Institute. Available at: http://www.landlaeknir.is/servlet/file/store93/item12220/version4/Handbok-um-hreyfingu_net_allt.pdf

2009

Journal article (in Icelandic). An ecological approach to the site planning of recreational homes (Icel.: Vistvænt skipulag frístundalóða). The annual publication of the Horticultural Society of Iceland. 2009. Available at: http://gardurinn.is/default.asp?sid_id=44406&tId=1 

2008-2014

Board of editors, Arkitektúr, a professional architecture magazine published by the Federation of Landscape Architects in Iceland and the Association of Icelandic Architects. Editor in chief from 2012-2014. 

2008 

On-line journal article (in Icelandic). Thoughts about Children’s’ Needs for Nature Connection (Icel.: Hugleiðing um þarfir barna fyrir náttúrutengingu). Available at: http://hugsandi.is/articles/hugleiding-um-tharfir-barna-fyrir-natturutengingu/ 

2008 

Doctoral dissertation. Neighborhood Design: Associations between Suburban Neighborhood Morphology and Children’s Outdoor, Out-of-school, Physical Activities. Available at: http://repository.lib.ncsu.edu/ir/handle/1840.16/3220 

2007 

Research report. Design of Sound Barriers: a Study of Visual Perception (Icel.: Hönnun hljóðvarna í þéttbýli: viðhorf til sjónrænnar upplifunar). Funded by the Icelandic State Department of Transportation (draft research report). 

2005 

Article (in Icelandic). The Importance of Nature in Urban Environments (Icel.: Mikilvægi náttúrusvæða í þéttbýli). Skógartíðindi, official newsletter of the Reykjavik Forestry Society. 

2005 

Research report. Quality Assessment of Preschool Yards (Icel.: Ástand leikskólalóða). Co-author with Einari E. Sæmundsson landscape architect. Funded in partial by the City of Reykjavik Office of Preschools.

1999 

Master’s thesis, Conservation Areas: New Criteria for a Historic District in the Town of Stykkishólmur, Iceland. Available at: http://www.vistogvera.is/files/kristin_thorleifsdottir_mla.pdf 

Currently she teaches three courses: DS 221 Person-Environment Interactions, LA 321 Health Promoting Environments Studio and LA 699 Designing Healthy Communities.