Sustainable Development of Land Use

Course content

The course aims to engage in contemporary discussions of the sustainability of different land uses and situate these in an interdisciplinary understanding based on theoretical frameworks from land system science, anthropology/cultural history, and economics. We approach this by using Denmark as an example, and build case studies on the use of carbon-rich wetlands, forests, agricultural land, and recreational housing in the coastal zone. We modify the list of cases to the particular interests of the students at the beginning of the course.

The course opens on day one with disciplinary lectures on theories and research in sustainable land use from the perspective of anthropology/cultural history, economics, and geography. Based on this, we discuss how these disciplinary perspectives can be combined to form an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable development using the three sustainability dimensions (social, economic, environmental sustainability). Day two is dedicated to a full-day excursion where we visit the case studies and talk to local land users or stakeholders.

On days three and four, students form interdisciplinary groups. Each group works on one of the case studies to analyze how the land use can undergo a sustainable development. The groups keep an interdisciplinary focus by developing criteria or indicators pertaining to each of the three sustainability dimensions. The product of the group work is a development plan for the case study towards 2050.

The groups present their plans on day five in a plenary discussion of the applied criteria and indicators for sustainable development. All teachers will be present to facilitate discussions and provide feedback. Following the plenary discussions, the groups are combined to produce a joint coherent and interdisciplinary masterplan for sustainable development of the land towards 2050. The master plan is submitted as an assignment at the end of week two and forms the foundation for individual oral exams.

Learning outcome


  • Current challenges pertaining to sustainable land use in Denmark
  • Theories and frameworks for understanding and analyzing sustainable development, contemporary sustainability issues relates to land use in academia and practice, sustainable development as an interdisciplinary framework



  • Identify relevant theories and analytical frameworks from different disciplines related to sustainable development
  • Obtain information on contemporary issues related to sustainable development of land use and discuss these using relevant theories and frameworks. Assess the sustainability of different land uses



  • Discussing how sustainability is assessed and reflect critically on the approaches
  • Analyzing main barriers for sustainable development of land use
  • Engaging critically in debates on sustainability and land use

The teaching combines lectures, class room exercises and group work, and a 1-day excursion

Please see Absalon page.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment, during course
Oral examination, 20 minutes without preparation time
Type of assessment details
The written assignment is prepared during the course. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list. A combined grade is given after the oral examination.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Same as the ordinary exam.

The student has the following options:

Is the quality of the written assignment not acceptable, the student can choose to either hand in a new or revised report.

Is the quality of the written assignment acceptable, the student can choose to either hand in a revised report or resubmit the original report from the ordinary exam.

The written assignment must be handed in prior to the re-examination week. The oral exam uses the written assignment as its point of departure. It includes the titles listed in the officially approved reading list.

Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 8
  • Preparation
  • 162
  • Exercises
  • 24
  • Excursions
  • 12
  • English
  • 206


Course number
7,5 ECTS
Programme level
Full Degree Master
19-30 August 2024
The classes will run from 19-23 August, followed by one week of working on the written assignment.
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 Coordinator
  • Martin Rudbeck Jepsen   (3-7c81794f78767d3d7a843d737a)

Frida Hastrup
Peter Birch Sørensen

Saved on the 27-11-2023

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