LNAK10073U Rural Landscapes: Methods and Approaches in Policy Making

Volume 2020/2021

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 also in rapid change in response to natural and social processes of transformation. These changes course challenges but do also offer new opportunities. 

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: Designations and regulation, Agri-environmental policies and other incentives, Persuasion, Public participation, Planning processes and Mediation of dialogues.

Learning Outcome

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


  • Formulate and communicate policies and strategies for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes
  • Hold a critical and reflective view on contemporary approaches and strategies related to the use and protection 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


  • Apply methods for description, analysis and assessment of landscapes
  • Apply methods for examination of preferences, values and attitudes
  • Translate landscape assessments in to policies and actions 
  • Formulate goals for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes
  • Identifify policy instruments for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes
  • Describe planning processes for the involvment of citizens in the planning process


Knowledge of:

  • Contemporary trajectories of landscape change, their driving forces and impacts
  • Methods for analysis, description and assessment of landscapes
  • Methods for examination of preferences, values and attitudes
  • Principles of planning and policies related to the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes
  • Policy instruments for the protection, maintenance and enhancement of rural landscapes
  • Digital map data 


A text book supplemented with ann 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
  • Lectures
  • 45
  • Preparation
  • 107
  • Exercises
  • 36
  • Excursions
  • 9
  • Study Groups
  • 9
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
At the end of the course 2-3 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
SeveraliInternal examiners

Re-submission of papers from ordinary examination, followed by 15 minuttes oral examination. A combined grade is given after the oral exam.

Criteria for exam assesment

See learning outcomes