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Niall Kirkwood

Niall Kirkwood Niall Kirkwood  
Professor of Landscape Architecture
Director, Center for Technology and Environment
Harvard Graduate School of Design
Person Type: 

What does working with the Center mean to you?

The Center is important to me because it connects my ongoing research both nationally and internationally, with key aspects of social, industrial and political stakeholders as well as exposure to significant questions arising from the current condition of the environment. In this way I am able to make my work more relevant to the needs and ambitions of communities, families and individuals in their daily engagement with their varied natural and designed landscapes.



Niall G. Kirkwood is Professor of Landscape Architecture and Technology at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), where he has taught since 1992. He has practiced professionally as a licensed architect and landscape architect in the United Kingdom and United States. In addition he was the founder and is the current Director of the Center for Technology and Environment (CTE). The Center is a research, advisory, and executive education center at the Harvard GSD.   Currently the Center focuses on site analysis, remediation, and sustainable reclamation issues on sites in Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East. 

From 2003-2009, he was the thirteenth Chair of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the oldest such program globally, founded in 1900 by Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and Arthur Shurcliff. From 1999-2003 and 2005-2007, he was Director of the Master in Landscape Architecture Degree Programs (MLA), and from 1999-2003, he was the coordinator of the "Design and Environment" track of the Master in Design Studies Program (MDesS), the mid-career degree program at the GSD.

Kirkwood is also the Gerard O'Hare Visiting Professor at the University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, and holds appointments at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China and Korea University, Seoul. He is a faculty member of the Harvard University Center for the Environment and a member of the faculty steering committee of The Harvard Global Health Institute.

Kirkwood's teaching, research, publishing and public service broadly concern technology and its relationship to design in the built landscape environment. He currently carries out research into the use of vegetation to remedy toxic soils and groundwater (phyto-technologies) and the reuse of former industrial and polluted lands. Areas of specific focus include urban brownfields, municipal landfills, and regeneration of Superfund sites, decommissioned military bases and mining lands. More recently his research has focused on aspects of urbanization on contaminated sites in India, Korea and China.

The general scope of Kirkwood's teaching, research, and publishing all emphasize a broader understanding of current and emerging technologies and techniques from landscape, civil, ecological and environmental engineering, and how this understanding can best result in more creative and progressive planning and design work to sustain families, communities and cities.

For more information, including publications, visit