LNAK10073U Rural Landscapes: Methods and Approaches in Policy Making

Volume 2019/2020

MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)
MSc Programme in Agriculture
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
MSc Programme in Nature Management


Rural landscapes cover more than a third of the earth and contribute most of the food and fiber consumed by human populations. At the same time rural landscapes are home to wild flora and fauna which exist alongside human settlement and industry, forming patterns adapted both to the natural conditions of the land and the social conditions of society. As such rural landscapes are manifestations of the way in which human societies organize and use their environment through continuous processes of decision making, forming an interface between society and its ecological basis.

Rural landscapes are constantly changing in response to natural and social processes of transformation. Currently the influence of these changes on the quality of our landscapes are receiving increasing attention. The aim of the course is to present knowledge about contemporary landscape changes and its driving forces and to give insights into theories and methods to identify landscape characteristics, qualities, values and sustainability. In addition, the course will present knowledge about policy approaches and strategies for the protection, preservation and enhancement of rural landscapes. The course gives insight into some of the core issues of the M.Sc. education in Nature Management. The course also constitutes an important supplement to candidates involved in studies of sustainability science, forestry, agronomy, biology, geography, environmental management, environmental anthropology and rural sociology. 

Teaching is organized around three themes:

(1) Methods for analysis, assessment and evaluation of landscapes, including an introduction to: Spatial analysis and categorization of landscapes, visual analysis, value- and vulnerability analyses as well as an introduction to the concept of landscape character assessment.

(2) Methods for examining preferences, values and attitudes in relation to landscapes, including: interviews and different types of preference examination methods.

(3) Policy approachesand strategies for the protection and enhancement of rural landscapes, including the following subjects: Designations and regulation, agri-environmental policies, other incentives, persuasion and public participation, planning processes and mediation of dialogue.

Learning Outcome

On completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge, skills and competences:

- Describe contemporary trajectories of landscape change, their driving forces and impacts
- Describe methods for analysis, description and assessment of landscapes
- Describe methods for examination of preferences, values and attitudes
- Describe principles of planning and policy strategies related to the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes

- Apply methods for description, analysis and assessment of landscapes
- Apply methods for examination of preferences, values and attitudes
- Formulate and communicate strategies for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes


- Discuss rural landscape policies and strategies in a wider context

- Work as an individual as well as in groups with people from different disciplines

- Hold a critical and reflective view on contemporary approaches and strategies related to the use and protection of rural landscapes


Selman, P. (2006). Planning at the Landscape Scale. Routhledge:Oxon

Electronic compendium with seleceted articles

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Teaching is given in the form of lectures, exercises, seminars and excursions. Most lectures will be followed by seminars where students are asked to give small presentations or by group discussions or exercises. Exercises are done in groups and will mostly be concluded by group presentations.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 9
  • Excursions
  • 9
  • Lectures
  • 45
  • Preparation
  • 107
  • Theory exercises
  • 36
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
At the end of the course 2-5 papers have to be submitted. This delivery constitutes the exam. The papers are related to both the course literature and the exercises assigned throughout the course. Each paper has to be prepared individually. The background material on which papers build may be derived partly from exercise work done in groups during the course. A list of compulsory paper topics will be ready by the beginning of the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several Internal examiners

Re-submission of papers from ordinary examination, followed by 30 minuttes oral examination. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcome