Theories and Methods in Landscape Architecture

Course content

This problem-based course invites students to think about how we think. To deepen this reflection, we use selected methods and theoretical concepts in studies of existing design work. Students work in groups before turning into individual studies in the final phase.

During the course, students describe and interpret historical design work in an ongoing analysis that reaches greater depth as the course evolves. By studying design work from other historical periods we question the methods that we use and the thinking behind those methods. The aim is not to prove what is universally right or wrong, good or bad, but to reflect on different values, concepts and frameworks in the encounter with a specific designed urban landscape. In the course, students develop an interpretation using selected theories and methods. This interpretation and its visual and textual argumentation is part of an academic article, which is the object for the final assessment. Students work on this article throughout the entire duration of the course.


MSc Programme in Landscape Architecture

Learning outcome

The course aims at enabling the students to revisit their own assumptions and to develop a reflection about knowledge production, ideas, and concepts concerning urban landscapes. The course also promotes a deeper understanding of the potentials and limitations of different methods of study and a critical reflection of the theories that they are connected to.

Basic understanding of a historical period, knowledge of selected methodologies and of theoretical frameworks that are central to the field landscape architecture.

Training in using various methods to study and represent designed urban landscapes, practice in reading theoretical texts and relating them to a specific study of a designed urban landscape, training in thinking and writing about design-related issues, including defining research questions and trajectories and producing a convincing argumentation in oral presentations and in an academic text which includes visual analyses.

Students sharpen their ability to identify and address landscape architectural problems, especially concerning cultural and aesthetic dimensions. The basic idea is that the competences in using explicit critical and methodological analysis and theoretical frameworks can strengthen the students’ future practice as designers. The course aims at the acquisition of academic competences in critical reflective study of designed urban landscapes by reciprocal movements between empirical observations and theoretical reflection.

The teaching is based on the idea that learning takes place best in the form of independent group study in dialogue with supervisors and fellow students. There will be regular planning and evaluation meetings to discuss the ongoing work. Students are expected to participate actively in teamwork, presentation of and response to one’s own work and that of others, fieldwork, and to prepare and respond actively to lectures. At the end of the course students do active, individual studies. The course has optional and mandatory reading seminars, which require preparation. Active participation in the group work and the hand-in of mandatory assignments is a prerequisite for passing the course.

Selected literature on the empirical study, its historical contexts and selected texts about methodologies and theoretical frameworks.

Competences within the field of the philosophy and science of landscape architecture and basic design competences.

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Type of assessment details
Evaluation based on individual article, handed in during the exam week.
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
  • 15
  • Preparation
  • 219
  • Theory exercises
  • 170
  • Excursions
  • 8
  • English
  • 412


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master

1 block

Block 1
A And C
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
  • Svava Riesto   (4-777a766d446d6b72326f7932686f)
  • Ellen Braae   (5-6a72677766456e6c7333707a336970)

Svava Riesto, Ellen Braae, Peter Lundsgaard Hansen.

Saved on the 28-02-2023

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