Elizabeth Hermann is a landscape architect, urban designer and cultural historian whose research and teaching focus on cities, their cultural and environmental interconnectivity, and issues pertaining to economically disadvantaged populations, gender, climate change and coastal communities, and ecosystem-based adaptation strategies. For the past 25 years, her work has been centered in South Asia and the coastal cities of the Bay of Bengal region where rapid urbanization, conflict, environmentally driven displacement, and competing land interests are compounded by climate change impacts.
Hermann received her PhD from Harvard, where she focused on urban history and pandemic disease in the pre-modern Muslim world. She has taught at MIT, Harvard, Brown and Washington University in St. Louis. She has been Social Innovator-in-Residence and a visiting scholar in Babson College’s Social Innovation Lab and Entrepreneurship Program; a SPURS Fellow in Urban Studies and Planning at MIT; a senior Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka; a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome; and a Professional Fellow in Economic Empowerment with the US State Department. Hermann is founder and co-director of TAASI East, an international independent nonprofit applied research lab working with partners in Sri Lanka and elsewhere on issues of social and environmental justice, community development and climate change impacts. She is currently completing two book projects: Cities of Silt and Sand: The Bay of Bengal and its Narrative of Urbanization, Displacement and Struggle and Widening Waters: Landscape, Identity and Narrative in Sri Lanka.