Outdoor Recreation - Planning and Management

Course content

The Outdoor Recreation course is a problem and knowledge based course which offer you a unique insight in the linkages between people’s recreational use of nature and the management and planning of nature areas. The course deals with practical and theoretical aspects of planning, management and governance of outdoor recreation (or ‘friluftsliv’ in Danish). In this course, you will learn from a management point of view how to deal with visitors and users of nature areas based on both theoretical and practical management related knowledge.

Outdoor recreation is high on today’s policy, research and planning agenda. First of all, planning authorities have focus on the link between outdoor recreation, active living and public health. Furthermore, opportunities for outdoor recreation are an integrated part of forest and afforestation policy, municipal landscape planning, urban green space planning, national agricultural policy, and nature policy. Moreover, access to nature and green/blue spaces with opportunities for outdoor recreation plays a key role in peoples’ choice of settlement, and development of outdoor recreation opportunities contribute to rural development by delivering economic benefits to rural societies.

The following themes are included: public accessibility, nature protection, conflicts between user groups, zoning and multifunctional planning approaches, public participation and collaboration between stakeholders, management of outdoor recreation facilities, monitoring and mapping of outdoor recreation including usages of interviews, surveys, visitor counting, GIS, GPS, and App’s in order to support planning and management of outdoor recreation.

The course has an international set-up and include examples and cases from Denmark and other countries.


MSc Programme in Nature Management
MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture

Learning outcome


  • Analyze outdoor recreation as a product of a human-nature relationship (the interrelationships of outdoor recreation activities, motivations, expectations, facilities, and natural settings).
  • Identify benefits of outdoor recreation and areas of conflict which planning and management must address.
  • Explain and describe outdoor recreation planning frameworks.
  • Describe and reflect on key actors, user groups and stakeholders in relation to creating opportunities and regulating outdoor recreation.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of methods for visitor monitoring and mapping



  • Apply a variety of planning frameworks for management of outdoor recreation, including approaches for monitoring and assessing outdoor recreation.
  • Identify key stakeholders and potential issues related to the formulation of policy and planning documents with relevance for outdoor recreation planning and management.



  • Apply the main points of theory and evidence-based knowledge about outdoor recreation to planning practice and areas of conflict.
  • Apply and justify the choice of specific methods and adapt them to current planning practice and management situations, including consideration of the actors that are relevant to involve and when in the process.
  • Fill out various operational roles within the outdoor recreation sector such as a manager or consultant, including lead and advice on the initiation, development and implementation of professional or interdisciplinary networks and partnerships.

As a rule, the lectures will be based on a dialogue between teachers and students. The course includes theoretical exercises and active student participation, e.g. discussions and oral student presentations in line with the final exam setup. Furthermore, excursions and interactions with Danish key outdoor recreation organizations such as the Nature Agency (Naturstyrelsen), The Danish Forest Association (Dansk Skovforening) The Danish Outdoor Council (Friluftsrådet), and The Danish Society for Nature Conservation (Danmarks Naturfredningsforening) are integrated in the course.

Please see Absalon.

Bachelor degree in Natural Resource Management, Landscape Architecture, Geography, Biology, Exercise and Sports (idræt), Environmental Science, or similar, is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 min
The students have 24 hours to prepare a presentation (15 min), followed by a discussion (10 min) of the presentation in relation to the syllabus and the core areas of competence of the course.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners.
Criteria for exam assessment

See Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 42
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • Theory exercises
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 24
  • Preparation
  • 110
  • Class Exercises
  • 8
  • English
  • 206