NIGK23010U Strategic Planning for Urban Nature

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture


The "re-naturing" of cities has come to the fore-front of urban planning the world over. From Singapore to Copenhagen, city leaders have implemented large-scale campaigns to green urban landscapes with trees, parks and community gardens. But why are green spaces so important for today's cities and towns? How do we develop sustainable and multifunctional green structures that meet the expectations of local citizens, politicians and other diverse interests? How can green spaces provide nature-based solutions for a climate-resilient future? How can green spaces continue to be prioritized given the pressures of urban densification? These are some of the questions delt with in this course. Working with a Nordic and international perspective, students are challenged to conceptualize and apply key concepts, theories, and methods involved in the adaptive planning and governance of urban parks, woodlands, street trees, community gardens and other green areas. This is a must-have course for students with a professional interest in the greening and re-naturing of cities.

This course challenges students to shift perspectives from the spatial to the political. In this regard Strategic Planning for Urban Nature is a problem- and knowledge-based course drawing on relevant urban green space governance cases from the Danish and international context . The course explores international literature and Danish cases as an introduction to the planning, management, and governance of public urban green spaces. The course provides an in-depth perspective on the following topics:

- The concepts of urban green infrastructure and nature-based solutions, definitions etc. touching on its relation to climate resilient urban planning and the ecologicalization of the urban fabric.
- History, background, developments and current status of urban green space resources in Europe and abroad
- Adaptive governance of urban green spaces
- Case-based examples of benefits, values and uses of urban green spaces (ecological, economic, social, cultural, human health etc.)
- Case-based examples of policies, planning legislation and regulations of urban green spaces 
- Development of tools for adaptive governance of urban green spaces with a specific focus on community-based planning
- Focus on diverse actors, stakeholders and professions involved in urban green space governance
- Focus on various methods of public engagement and co-creation of urban green spaces

Learning Outcome

The main objective of the course is to provide a theoretical introduction to the governance (planning, management, and steering of decision making processes) of public urban green spaces from an adaptive and community-based planning perspective. These course objectives are supported through case-based group work resulting in a written urban green space governance plan at the end of the block. In this course we work with "real-world" cases often engaging directly with a municipality, community groups, and parks organizations thus we aim to move from theory to praxis within the course.

The course is integrated in the Master program in Landscape Architecture, yet is also highly relevant for students studying Nature Management, Sustainable Urban Development, Climate Resiliency, and or other topics relating to urban sustainability.

After completing the course the student should be able to:


- Describe and challenge relevant theories related to the combination of urban governance, landscape urbanism, green space management, and urban green infrastructure planning and how they relate to real-world practice.
-Describe and challenge, using relevant models, the actors and aspects involved in urban green space planning and governance within a basic democratic system.
- Reflect upon the different user groups, their wishes and needs, and possible conflicts between different user groups.
-Summarize and complicate the various benefits of urban green spaces.
-List relevant methods of resident engagement and co-creation and reflect upon their suitability in different situations.
- Describe in detail how an adaptive green space governance plan may be structured, and developed over time.


- Read and analyze peer-reviewed scientific publications
- Make oral presentations of preformed analyses, developed visions and planned actions
- Structure reports and presentations in a professional manner
- Select and asses relevant information for the course project
- Discuss central tools, their scope and values in relation to green space governance.
- Obtain new methodological insights into the collection of urban green space data
- Develop a green space governance plan, including both short and long term visions and related means to fulfill the plan.


-Work independently
-Cooperate effectively in a multidisciplinary and multicultural group with a common project
-Apply the course theory to related subjects and/or to different work situations, e.g. in other countries

See Absalon for a list of course literature.

A relevant Bachelor completed, with a proven 'green space' component, for example landscape architecture, landscape management, forestry, natural resource management, nature conservation, geography, environmental science.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
The course will be taught as a combination of lectures, group work, seminars and field tests. Lectures will be given as a basis for theoretical input. Group work will be based on exercises where students develop further understanding. Seminars will be based on students own preparation and dissemination of knowledge. Field tests will be excursions where students are expected to test theory in practise. As both the future work field and the expected students represent a wide range of interests and educational backgrounds, teaching methods in this course will be interactive and active participation of the students in discussions and multidisciplinary group work is expected. Thus, students will be able to work interdisciplinary as well as relate their own academic background to related disciplines.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 40
  • Preparation
  • 250
  • Exercises
  • 106
  • Guidance
  • 16
  • Total
  • 412
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Feedback will be given in two-way formats. Students will frequently be asked to assess the course lecture content and relevance as well as their personal learning experience. This will be done orally. Oral feedback will be given during group-work presentations. All students will comment on their peers' progress in group presentations as part of peer-feedback. Individual feedback will be given upon request. Each student will receive feedback at their exam when the grade is given.

Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Type of assessment details
Oral exam, with use of all materials allowed. Question to be drawn prior to exam, followed by 20 minutes of preparation time.
Exam registration requirements

Students must complete a written green space governance plan and deliver it in order to take the exam. Students are strongly recommended to participate in their assigned group to complete the assigned green space governance plan. 

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.

Oral exam 20 minutes, with use of all materials allowed. Question to be drawn prior to exam, followed by 20 minutes of preparation time. Students who have not handed in the green space governance plan prior to the ordinary exam, have to hand it in two weeks before the re-exam in order to participate in the exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please see learning outcomes.