Thaisa Way

Professor Emerita

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 “Democracy and Landscape: Race, Identity, and Difference”. 

Dr. Way was the 2015-2016 Garden Club of America Fellow in Landscape Architecture at the American Academy in Rome. She was elevated to Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects in 2018 in recognition of her contributions to the profession and discipline as a scholar and teacher. 

Dr. Way has published and lectured on feminist histories of landscape architecture and public space in cities. Her book, Unbounded Practices: Women, Landscape Architecture, and Early Twentieth Century Design (2009, University of Virginia Press) was awarded the J.B. Jackson Book Award in 2012. A second book, From Modern Space to Urban Ecological Design: the Landscape Architecture of Richard Haag (University of Washington Press 2015) explores the narrative of post-industrial cities and the practice of landscape architecture. She has edited two books in urban environmental history and practice including Now Urbanism (Routledge, 2013) with Jeff Hou, Ken Yocom, and Ben Spencer, River Cities/City Rivers (Harvard Press, 2018).  

Dr. Way completed two monographs, GGN Landscapes: 1998-2018 (Timber Press, 2018) and Landscape Architect A.E. Bye: Sculpting the Earth, Modern Landscape Design Series (pending image permissions). Her edited collection volume Garden as Art: Beatrix Farrand at Dumbarton Oaks was published in 2022 in honor of the landscapes centennial. Co-edited with Eric Avila, the collection of essays titled Segregation and Resistant in the Landscapes of the Americas is forthcoming. 

Dr. Way served as Chair of Faculty Senate, UW as well as Chair of the Senate Committee on Planning and Budget from 2016-2019. As a historian she was Chair and Senior Fellow for the Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies  Program (2011-2017), member of the jury for the ASLA professional awards, and has served as a design reviewer, history consultant, and collaborator for numerous projects all with the intention to improve our public realm and build a stronger democracy. She was the founding director of Urban@UW, a coalition of urban researchers and teachers collaboratively addressing complex urban challenges and Chair of Faculty Senate at the University of Washington.

Urban@UW : seeks to build understanding of cities—from people, buildings, infrastructure, and energy to economics, policy, culture, art, and nature—beyond individual topics to dynamically interdependent systems, so that we can holistically design and steward vibrant and welcoming cities in which future generations will thrive.