I was born in Reykjavik Iceland where I have lived most of my life except for a few shorter periods of living and/or working in other countries including England, Germany, Bulgaria, the U.S. and Turkey. I hold a PhD in Community and Environmental Design (2008) and a MLA degree (1999) from North Carolina State University and a BA in Fine Arts-sculpture from Auburn University, Montgomery (1994).
After eight years of work and study in the U.S. I returned to Iceland in the fall of 2002. While completing my dissertation I took on an assistant professor’s position in Environmental Planning at the Agricultural University of Iceland where I taught courses on the History of Public Open Space, Landscape Analysis, and Designing Environments for Children. In 2005 I started teaching at the Department of Design and Architecture attached to the Iceland Academy of the Arts where I taught various courses including Environment and Behavior, Landscape Analysis, Sustainability and Ecological Design, and Visual Aspects of the Urban Environment. During this time I also started working part time as a registered landscape architect at a leading architecture and landscape architecture firm in Reykjavik until I open up my own design and research practice, Vist & Vera, in 2008.
The design projects I have been involved with have mainly focused children’s play environments, school grounds, facilities for senior citizens, planning recreational/natural areas and spatial/ecological design of neighborhoods. The research projects I have worked on include neighborhood design and children’s physical activities, visitors’ perception and use of natural areas in the vicinity of urban centers, and visual townscape assessment. Between the years 2010 to 2013 I also worked part time as a project manager at the Association of Icelandic Architects where I led a large EU project on sustainability in architecture and edited four books on the topic. Since 2008 I have also served on the Board of Editors for the journal Arkitektúr issued by the Association of Icelandic Architects and the Federation of Icelandic Landscape Architects and was one of two editors in chief from 2012 to 2014.
My primary area of interest lays within the area of Environment and Behavior (EBS), in particular issues regarding aspects of daily life in urban environments and the influence environmental design and urban planning have on a population’s behavioral patterns, attitudes, use, function, health and wellbeing.