Outdoor Recreation - Planning and Management

Course content

The Outdoor Recreation course is a problem and knowledge based course, which offers you a unique insight in the linkages between peoples’ 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.

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

Outdoor recreation is an integrated part of multiple policies, e.g. forest and afforestation policy, public health policy, municipal landscape planning, urban green space planning, agricultural policy, rural development, nature policy, and protected area management. These different policies, planning and management fields will form the basis of the course.  Hence, a multitude of recreation environments are in focus, including urban green space recreation, forest recreation, countryside recreation, protected area visitation, wilderness recreation, and coastal and marine recreation.

The following themes are included: visitors’ values, norms, attitudes, experiences and behaviors; conflicts between user groups; public accessibility; children and nature; pro-environmental behaviour; volunteering; and nature-based integration.  The planning and management focus includes balanced use and protection of nature; zoning and multifunctional approaches; and management of recreation facilities. Further, the course has focus on documenting, monitoring and mapping of visitors by interviews, surveys, visitor counting, public participatory GIS, GPS, and App’s (user-generated content) in order to support planning and management of outdoor recreation.

In a sustainable development perspective, outdoor recreation connects people and nature, and thereby offers insight into social-ecological interactions and dynamics that are central to sustainability thinking. The course relates to Sustainable Development Goals 3 (good health and well-being), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 14 (life below water), and 15 (life on land).   


MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture
MSc Programme in Nature Management

Learning outcome


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



  • Apply a variety of frameworks for planning and management of outdoor recreation, including approaches for monitoring and assessing outdoor recreation, in order to solve and understand conflicts and dilemmas related to outdoor recreation practices.
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of methods for visitor monitoring and mapping



  • 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 real-life planning practices and management situations.

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), municipalities and selected user groups is intergrated 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
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
Type of assessment details
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
  • Preparation
  • 134
  • Exercises
  • 18
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 3
The number of seats may be reduced in the late registration period
Study Board of Geosciences and Management
Contracting department
  • Department of Geoscience and Natural Resource Management
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Science
Course Coordinators
  • Anton Stahl Olafsson   (4-71837f7c5079777e3e7b853e747b)
  • Sandra Gentin   (7-75696770766b70426b6970306d7730666d)

Sandra Gentin; Søren Præstholm; Berit Charlotte Kaae; Hans Skov-Petersen; Natalie Gulsrud

Saved on the 28-02-2022

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Courseinformation of students