LAA310 Sustainability and major landscape changes

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Kristin Marie Berg

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Norsk

Limits of class size:Max 25, min. 10

Course frequency:Annual

Nominal workload:Totally 250 hours of work.

Teaching and exam period:Fall semester.

About this course

The landscape we live in has always been changing and is still doing so. This is due to both natural conditions and human influence. In recent years, however, transformations in the landscape have occurred which both accelerates and leads to major challenges for society and the environment.

Norway has joined the European Landscape Convention. The importance of creating a sustainable development based on a trade-off between social, economic and environmental needs is emphasized here. On what terms do the changes in the landscape take place?

The convention points out that "the development of production techniques in agriculture, forestry, industry and mining and in regional and urban planning, transport, infrastructure, leisure and tourism as well as general changes in the world economy in many cases accelerate changes in the landscape". The agreement obliges the countries to map the landscapes in their territory, to analyze the character of the landscapes and which forces and threats lead to their change.

The aim of the course is for the students to develop their analytical ability to study major landscape changes that have occurred in recent years, identify and understand the driving forces behind the development, know and apply planning tools used in the planning phase and be able to discuss the changes in light of the concept of sustainability.

The students will work on a project assignment linked to a concrete development project that has led to major landscape changes - both for nature, the cultural landscape and the people who live in the landscape.

Learning outcome


The student must acquire knowledge of:

  • Different approaches that are relevant for an interdisciplinary analysis of landscapes with the various consequences of an intervention, and how this can promote understanding and communication among people
  • Important overall guidelines, legislation and guidelines that are relevant for physical planning of projects affecting large areas in Norway
  • National, regional and municipal planning and how the public participates at different levels
  • The role of important professional bodies in social planning. This could be, for example, the Swedish Road Administration, the Norwegian Railways and NVE
  • The importance of the tools for managing social development, such as map databases, digital shaping tools and how they affect our perception of reality.
  • How to exercise specialist expertise to stimulate interdisciplinarity and sustainable solutions?
  • The aesthetic dimension versus the instrumental one.


The student must have acquired skills in:

  • Defining a task area and formulate relevant issues for the development of a group project
  • Analyzing historical changes in a larger landscape area over time, point out which driving forces have worked and understand the consequences of these
  • Pointing out the biggest driving forces for landscape changes today
  • Working at different scales and using different tools such as inspections, conversations, interviews, drawings, figures, sketches, sections, photos, tables, perspectives and scientific sources to develop a project and promote a message
  • Using precise concepts and good language to create good written reports
  • Being able to make oral presentations to convey a project content in a clear and simple way to promote dialogue with various people involved

General competence:

The student must have completed:

  • Ability to work in interdisciplinary teams with complex issues towards a common goal
  • Critical thinking and being able to reflect on one's own professional practice and understanding of one's own role
  • Expertise in the involvement of people and ethical issues related to this
  • Lectures, theoretical studies, field visits, workshops/seminars, work in project groups
  • Subject literature, tutorials, oral reviews, feedback from student to student
  • Competence corresponding to the first three years of study at university/college. As the subject will provide competence in interdisciplinary problem solving, it is an advantage to have students from different disciplines.
  • Written project assignment: Letter grade based on group project. An individual assessment can be given (adjusted grade compared to the rest of the group). This is based on the individual's work effort and/or ability to cooperate. Compulsory activities must be passed, such as oral presentation of the project assignment.

  • An external examiner participates in the evaluation of the assessment system itself. An external examiner participates also in the examination of all exam answers.
  • Field inspection, execution, workshops/seminar and oral presentation of project assignment
  • Lecture time with guidance and workshops/seminar approx. 40-45 hours, inspection/fieldwork approx. 25 hours, external visits approx. 15 hours, reviews approx. 10-15 hours
  • LANDSAM at master’s level M-LA, M-BYREG, B-LI and M-NF. LANDSAM at master’s level - M-LA, M-BYREG, B-LI, M-NF. A balanced distribution of students from different directions to achieve good interdisciplinarity.
  • Minimum requirements for entrance to higher education in Norway (generell studiekompetanse)