LED Learning Objectives

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Overall Learning Outcomes and Competences

The objective of this strategic partnership is to develop, implement, evaluate and improve a course unit titled ‘Landscape Education for Democracy (LED)’ in a blended learning format. This qualification will contribute to more active citizenship as design and planning practitioners and citizens of the larger community and their ability to promote sustainable change within communities around Europe. This learning opportunity will be open to all disciplines engaged in city design, planning and redevelopment and encourage transdisciplinary approaches to local landscape democracy challenges. According to relevant literature and the discussions held at the start-up meeting, learning objectives can be classified as subject-specific, personal and methodical.

In this competence-oriented educational model, the following learning outcomes are to be achieved:

Subject-specific competences

Participants should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of democracy based on a dialectical approach to this meta-topic. They know how public participation and democracy are related. They are aware of contemporary democracy challenges in the context of landscape planning and urban design change and of the challenges of a ‘right to landscape’ approach.
  • Develop a differentiated understanding of the concept of landscape and can relate this to the contemporary context of a pluralistic society. Students are sensitive to the different attitudes towards open space and also the disparities in access to landscape that exist among different ethnic or socioeconomic groups in many cities.
  • Conduct an informed and dialectical discourse on the relationship of landscape and democracy and are able to cite and analyze examples of this in a global context. Students are able to critically evaluate and identify concrete situations in which democratic processes are missing from landscape decision making processes, and propose possible solutions.
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the evolution and common understanding of public participation. Students can relate this concept to major directions of contemporary planning theory. They have developed a critical perspective and are aware of the potentials and limits of various models of participation (ladder (Arnstein) and wheel of participation (Davidson).
  • Demonstrate knowledge about the evolution and the contemporary understanding of the concepts of community and identity. Students should be able to relate these concepts to planning practice. This includes a critical reflection on the role of the planner (as ‘expert’).
  • Select the most adequate methods and tools to be applied in specific challenges requiring participatory processes.
  • Know common communication tools supporting participatory processes as well as different examples of participatory processes and how methods and tools are applied in practice.
  • Participants are knowledgeable and have the ability to discuss the Landscape and Democracy using an agreed upon vocabulary employed by practitioners and researchers in landscape, democracy and public participation.

Social and personal competences

Participants should demonstrate a high level of understanding of the following:

  • Critical reflection of structures, conditions and dependencies with respect to own societal context and personal environment, identification of landscape democracy challenges and change potential, motivation for active citizenship
  • Critical reflection of the role of the planner in a pluralistic society (expert vs facilitator)
  • Critical reflection of what leadership means in a participatory context
  • Development of (reflected) leadership competence: empowering people to build common visions and mutual trust.
  • Identification of stakeholders and power structures in a new and unknown context
  • Inclusion of various groups from the general public creatively in a participatory process by applying common methods and tools
  • Active listening and high level of empathy for different perspectives and viewpoints in an intercultural context
  • Self-organized, process-oriented and interdisciplinary team work, including virtual team work
  • High level of communication and presentation skills, including English language skills
  • Self-reflection through confrontation with the other (discipline, lay people, culture, local context) and increased awareness of own value schemes and interpretation patterns
  • Highly-developed career perspectives and professional goals

Methodical competences

Participants should demonstrate a solid mastery of the following abilities:

  • Acquiring relevant knowledge and information collaboratively
  • Evaluating, analyzing, synthesizing and processing this information, include diversity
  • Designing a creative working process independently and in a target-oriented way
  • Transferring knowledge and methods in the field of public participation to a new and unknown context
  • Applying project management and team building methods
  • Communicating results to different types of audiences (subject-specific and general public) using both analog and ICT-based means of communication
  • Reflecting and assessing the impact of their work in creative, non conventional ways


Subject-specific competences will be enhanced by (online) lectures, literature study, case study work and self-study of learning materials

Social/personal and methodical competences will primarily be enhanced by group work, collaborative research, design thinking, workshops, presentations and other inquiry-based / interactive learning methods.  

Process Steps for the Learning Model:

Online Part:

A – Landscape and Democracy: Mapping the Terrain

Students approach the concepts of landscape and democracy in a dialectical way by means of literature readings, lectures, concept mapping, discussions, role plays, team work and polls.

B – Concepts of Participation

Students learn how public participation evolved and how it relates to planning theory. They start mapping landscape democracy challenges in their socio-cultural contexts.

C – Community and Identity

The concepts of community and identity are introduced and reflected upon. Methods for uncovering/mapping identity, attachment and community are introduced. Social capital theories (Putnam) are introduced and critiqued, including methods that can help us understand the functioning of community networks. Students will be asked to apply these methods, collect data, and reflect critically on how designers and planners can help shape stronger and more democratic identity processes in communities. They analyse in how far community and identity are affected in their case studies.

D – Designing

Students learn about the rich set of methods and tools used in the fields of community based planning and design. They learn from cases how these methods and tools are applied in practice. They envision participation models for the landscape democracy challenges they have identified in their environment. They are able to speculate and map a design process and how participation may affect/alter such process.

E – Communicating a Vision

Communication methods and tools supporting community based planning are presented. Students envision how these tools could be applied in relation to their landscape democracy challenges. Students learn how to effectively communicate their knowledge in rich, deeply engaging ways. Planning as storytelling is introduced as an effective form of translating design and planning decisions into stories that can help inform changes to community and personal lifestyles.

Face to face part:

F – Intensive Study Programme

Students travel to an unknown context and practice landscape democracy in a real-life situation.