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Landscape Education for Democracy 2017
The new online course starts in April 2017

The landscape belongs to everyone, we should all participate in deciding how it is used, and landscape resources should serve all populations – not just the wealthy and powerful. Nevertheless, spatial planning education rarely includes topics such as democratic processes, participatory planning, community-based planning or other topics and does not fully prepare designers and planners to effectively work in partnership with the communities they serve.

LED project / CC BY
LED project
This was the inspiration for “LED – Landscape Education for Democracy,” – a three-year educational programme created by a five-university consortium and funded by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnership Programme of the European Union. The LE:NOTRE Institute is a partner in this project. LED seeks to promote empowerment, participation and active citizenship among young people through interdisciplinary, problem-based learning environments and curricular innovation that introduces landscape and democracy as a cross-disciplinary subject.

The project consists of online courses offered in the Spring of each year and on-site intensive summer workshops that engage international groups of landscape architecture and other planning students in working directly with local communities to address landscape challenges. This Spring, the 2017 LED online seminar will meet twice a week for the period April 5th - May 29th from 15:30-17:30. Students taking the course for credit will be able to receive 5 ECTS for the online course. 5 more ECTS will be offered to those who will attend this year’s intensive summer workshop in Kassel, Germany.

 “Landscape architects and planners have a critical role to play in promoting positive, democratic change in communities around the globe, and this comes with responsibilities to be aware of the ‘political’ nature of their public work. They must become aware of their social responsibility and agency. In drawing a line on a map or deciding where to place and build in the public realm, the designer encounters issues concerning ownership, rights, inclusion, and access that are central to a democratic society,” said Deni Ruggeri, associate professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences – NMBU, which is lead partner in the consortium. “It is the hope of all the partners in the LED project to help raise such awareness by exposing students to relevant theories, methods and practices that can help them be active leaders in shaping the democratic landscapes of the future. While our initial audience is made of students, the project aims at widening the dialogue begun within the online classroom to communities around Europe, through the organization of on-site workshops where these theories and methods will be ‘put to work’, tested, reflected upon, and disseminated to the global community, thanks to our partnership with the LE:NOTRE Institute.”

 Other partners in the consortium besides NMBU Department of Landscape Architecture and Spatial Planning include Nürtingen-Geislingen University, Nürtingen, Germany;the University of Kassel School of Architecture, Urban and Landscape Planning, Kassel, Germany; Szent István University Budapest, Faculty of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism, Budapest, Hungary; the University of Bologna Department of Architecture, Bologna, Italy; and the LE:NOTRE Institute, a professional platform linking landscape architecture education, research and innovative practice, based in Wagenigen, Netherlands.

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13. Feb 2017
Reported by Ellen Fetzer, Nrtingen


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