People, Nature and Recreation

Course content

The 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 sustainable management and planning of nature areas in the Anthropocene.

The course deals with practical and theoretical aspects of planning, management and governance of outdoor recreation (or ‘friluftsliv’ in Danish) with strong focus on balancing use and protection of nature. In this course, you will learn from a management point of view how to deal with visitors and users of nature areas. 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; monitoring of visitor flows; accessibility and availability; children and nature; pro-environmental behaviours; and nature-based integration.  The planning and management focus includes: novel and traditional visitor monitoring; strategies and tactics in management of visitor flows; use and protection of nature; protected area managment; volunteering; zoning and multifunctional approaches.

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 science. 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 nature-based 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 sustainable planning and management practices 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 nature-based outdoor recreation.



  • Apply and discuss a variety of frameworks for sustainable planning and management of nature-based outdoor recreation, including approaches for monitoring and assessing outdoor recreation, in order to solve and understand management conflicts and dilemmas
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of methods for visitor monitoring and mapping related to sustainable 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 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 of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

Lectures takes place in a discussion and interaction atmosphere. This include small break-ups of group work followed by discussion in plenum. Hence, students are expected to play an active role in peerfeedback. In addition, every week includes theoretical exercises where group of students are preparing an oral presentations in line with the final exam setup. These presentations will receive oral feedback from the teacher.

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.

Identical to the ordinary examination form.

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   (4-6375716e426b6970306d7730666d)
  • Sandra Gentin   (7-786c6a73796e73456e6c7333707a336970)

Sandra Gentin; Søren Præstholm; Hans Skov-Petersen; Natalie Gulsrud

Saved on the 28-02-2023

Are you BA- or KA-student?

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Courseinformation of students