Alison B. Hirsch is Director of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism at University of Southern California.
She is a landscape theorist, designer, and historian. Both her design and written work focus on how understanding cultural practices and social histories and memories can contribute to the design of meaningful places. This research encompasses design in areas of socio-spatial conflict and developing design methods and representational practices that take cues from ethnography, choreography and performance studies.
Her current book project, The Performative Landscape, emphasizes sociocultural dynamics as catalysts of physical design, challenging common conceptions that participatory or socially-oriented design processes must sacrifice the spatial, material and formal qualities of the landscape architectural project. Her 2014 book, City Choreographer: Lawrence Halprin in Urban Renewal America, explored the creative process landscape architect Lawrence Halprin developed with his wife, dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin, and how aspects of this process have the potential to enrich contemporary approaches to structuring the city.
Prior to joining the faculty at USC, Alison taught landscape architecture theory and design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, University of Virginia, and University of Toronto. Alison was a 2017-2018 Prince Charitable Trusts/Rolland Rome Prize Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.