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