Strategic Partnership Landscape Education for Democracy
The landscape belongs to everyone. We should all have equal access to it and a voice in how it is used, valued and maintained. However, spatial planning education rarely includes considerations of democratic processes, participatory planning, community design and landscape stewardship. Furthermore, it does not fully prepare young practioners to become leaders in promoting democratic landscape change and work effectively in partnership with communities.
The idea behind the LED (Landscape Education for Democracy) project, a partnership between 5 European landscape architecture faculties and the LE:NOTRE Institute is to promote awareness and empower young design and planning professionals to become more active in shaping democratic change. Our goal is to fill a gap in design and planning education and give students the opportunity to confront themselves with pressing issues of landscape democracy, right to the landscape and participation.
The LED course includes 13 online course sessions available to students at any institution, as well as a 10-days on-site intensive programme available only to students at partner universities.
The course gives students the opportunity to master methods and theories typically not taught in spatial planning programs like landscape architecture or urban planning. These include: Participant Action Research, service learning, participatory design, ecological democracy and ecoliteracy. Among the many important professional skills students will acquire in the course is developing appropriate and effective means of including marginalized or disadvantaged social groups. The students will be prepared for this in the theoretical phase of the project as we will provide case studies from a variety of cities to provide best practices for how to engage marginalized groups and include them in the planning process.
To provide a multi-element learning module on landscape and governance in a European context that introduces innovative learning methods of which both learners and educators will benefit. This includes:
- curricular innovation by introducing landscape and democracy as a cross-disciplinary subject;
- introduction of interdisciplinary, problem-based learning environments - both online and on site;
- introduction of highly interactive online learning activities based on constructivist learning theory;
- further education of teaching staff in the above mentioned areas;
- local/regional impact of the problem-based learning activities by taking up local problems;
- mutual learning of all European partners involved, increase of European awareness and diversity appreciation;
- promoting empowerment, participation and active citizenship among young people by directly addressing the topic of participation and active citizenship, thus enhancing relevant competences needed for facing social, cultural and environmental challenges in Europe;
- providing training participation methods in interdisciplinary constellations as a fruitful ground for groundbreaking new ideas for local change.
The project has produced several permanent intellectual outputs, including:
- Learning materials compiled by instructors and by student teams. See more in the section Output 1
- A certification system for democracy in landscape planning. See more in the section Output 2
- A guidance document for instructors at higher education institutions interested in implementing the course in their own context. The LED educatinal methodology is explained in Output 3