Gareth Doherty


Paradoxes of Green:
Landscapes of a City-State

This event includes a book signing


March 3, 2017
4:00 PM


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.

Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome the Harvard Graduate School of Design's GARETH DOHERTY—Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Senior Research Associate and a founding editor of the New Geographies journal—for a discussion of his latest book, Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State.

About Paradoxes of Green

This innovative multidisciplinary study considers the concept of green from multiple perspectives—aesthetic, architectural, environmental, political, and social—in the Kingdom of Bahrain, where green has a long and deep history of appearing cooling, productive, and prosperous—a radical contrast to the hot and hostile desert. Although green is often celebrated in cities as a counter to gray urban environments, green has not always been good for cities. Similarly, manifestation of the color green in arid urban environments is often in direct conflict with the practice of green from an environmental point of view. This paradox is at the heart of the book. In arid environments such as Bahrain, the contradiction becomes extreme and even unsustainable.

Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork, Gareth Doherty explores the landscapes of Bahrain, where green represents a plethora of implicit human values and exists in dialectical tension with other culturally and environmentally significant colors and hues. Explicit in his book is the argument that concepts of color and object are mutually defining and thus a discussion about green becomes a discussion about the creation of space and place.


"An utterly original, keenly observed ethnography, a thick description of the color green in the complex urban setting of Manama, Bahrain, by a landscape architect who walks its streets with only a camera, notebook, and water-coloring kit in hand. We absorb some insightful lessons about colors and their objects, not to mention the surprising roles of color—symbolic and practical—in urban design. Most profoundly for anthropologists, he demonstrates the importance of design to our understanding of urbanism and its materialities, and does so in delightful prose, laced with a sly sense of humor that is as engaging as it is trenchant. Brilliantly conceived at the intersection of architecture, urban design, anthropology, and Middle East studies, this is a truly interdisciplinary work, guaranteed to interest a wide readership." —Steven C. Caton, Khaled Bin Abdullah Bin Abdulrahman Al Saud Professor of Contemporary Arab Society, Harvard University

"The dazzling achievement of Paradoxes of Green is its eloquent and clear negotiation of the tricky problem of color from two points of view: on high, at the level of theory, and on the ground, where his personal observations give this important book such vitality. Gareth Doherty’s multidisciplinary range is breathtaking—essential to any consideration of color and its impact—and his deep knowledge of the region is impressive. This is an invaluable contribution to the understanding of an immensely challenging topic." —Charles A. Riley II, Professor of English, Baruch College, City University of New York, and author of Color Codes

"Based on fieldwork in the small and arid Kingdom of Bahrain, Doherty forensically examines and expands what is currently understood by 'green.' Exploring the role human experience plays in framing a complex layering of meaning and significance in landscape and urbanism, Doherty artfully demonstrates how color and landscape are instrumental in shaping social relationships. This deeply profound book is not just for students and practitioners of landscape architecture and design, but for those interested in a radically different kind of ecology." —Kathryn Moore, Professor of Landscape Architecture, Birmingham City University, UK 

Gareth Doherty
Gareth Doherty

Gareth Doherty

Gareth Doherty is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture and Senior Research Associate at Harvard University Graduate School of Design where he works on the relationships between landscape, anthropology, and design. Doherty’s publications include Ecological Urbanism, edited with Mohsen Mostafavi, which has been translated into Chinese, Spanish, and Portuguese with Arabic and Persian editions in process; and Is Landscape…? Essays on the Identity of Landscape, edited with Charles Waldheim. Doherty is a founding editor of the New Geographies journal and editor-in- chief of New Geographies 3: Urbanisms of Color. His latest book, Paradoxes of Green: Landscapes of a City-State is published by the University of California Press.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

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