Crawford is Professor of Urban Design and Planning Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. She teaches courses in the history and theory of urban development, planning, and design, including: Histories and Theories of Urban Intervention , Reality Check: Implementing Ideas in the Real World, Thinking the Low, Listening to the City, The Culture and Politics of the Built Environment in the U.S., The Culture of Cities, Temporary Urbanism, and Contemporary Urban Dynamics. She has also taught the GSD studios: 101 Urban Salvations, Nansha: Rethinking Urbanism and Landscape in the Pearl River Delta and An Academic Environment in Three Communities—Cambridge, Allston and Watertown.
Her research focuses on the evolution, uses and meanings of urban space. Her book, Building the Workingman’s Paradise: The Design of American Company Towns, examines the rise and fall of professionally designed industrial environments. She edited The Car and the City: The Automobile, the Built Environment and Daily Urban Life and Everyday Urbanism, and has published numerous articles on shopping malls, public space, and other issues in the American built environment. Her recent book Nansha Coastal City: Landscape and Urbanism in the Pearl River Delta was published in early 2006 and co-edited by Alan Berger. Before coming to the GSD, Crawford was the Chair of the History, Theory and Humanities program at the Southern California Institute for Architecture. She has also taught at the University of Southern California, the University of California at San Diego, the University of California at Santa Barbara, and the University of Florence, Italy.
She received a BA from the University of California at Berkeley, a Graduate Diploma from the Architectural Association, and a PhD in Urban Planning from UCLA.