Timetable information in the Course Catalogue may be subject to change.

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture and Landscape Architecture

Postgraduate Course: Planning and design for outdoor recreation (ARCH11259)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits40 ECTS Credits20
SummaryThe course covers all aspects of planning and design for recreation in a range of outdoor environments, especially rural, natural and wilder landscapes. It considers what benefits people gain from contact with nature, the trends in society affecting leisure and recreation, the pressures these place on the landscape and how to use strategic and area-based planning and site design to enable visitors to obtain a good experience while reducing the risks of damage or degradation to the landscape. It is based around a project located in an area in Estonia where there are possibilities to work in a very natural forest/wetland/lake landscape in a country undergoing transitions (social, economic, political) and where there is a high potential for recreation and nature tourism development. It links planning and design with elements of sustainability at different scales. The course combines group and individual project work and is supported by a series of lectures. Textbooks covering the field are readily available.
Course description The course objectives are to introduce students to the range of aspects affecting one of the main pressures on many rural and natural landscapes, that of recreation and nature tourism (the term tourism as used here here involves similar activities to recreation but involves an overnight stay in a place). Many attractive and protected landscapes possess special qualities which attract large numbers of visitors with many different motives: enjoyment of scenery, hiking or biking, skiing or using water sports, nature watching, visiting cultural attractions etc. It affects many areas around the world and has a large impact in places where tourism is the main form of economic activity. As society is changing due to many different economic, social, technical and demographic drivers, demand for outdoor recreation is constantly changing and the pressures visitors place on attractive landscapes affect their social, physical and environmental carrying capacity. In addition, many facilities are needed to service visitor requirements, to manage them and to protect the landscape being visited. Therefore the course covers: Understanding the history and problems associated with outdoor recreation and nature tourism; the trends in society affecting demand for outdoor recreation; assessing recreation demand; large-scale strategic planning and assessment of landscape capacity for outdoor recreation; territorial planning for outdoor recreation; site design for outdoor recreation in a range of settings and for a range of purposes and to ensure sustainability.

The course includes a number of lectures covering the basics of the objectives and a substantial element of both group and individual project work based on a location with special characteristics and qualities. In order to expose students to different contexts and to work in a contrasting area to most urban setting, being much more natural and extensive, the project area is located in the Baltic state of Estonia, on the shores of Lake Peipsi, close to the Russian border, where lake, wetlands and forest interspersed with rivers, villages and old cultural elements offer a complex of remote and wild places where wolves, lynx and bear still roam around (although not posing a danger to visitors, being shy animals). The course also offers the possibilities to share some experiences with Estonian and international students working on a similar programme in parallel. Therefore the course will include one visit to Estonia.

The project work is divided into two distinct phases:
Phase 1: Strategic planning of a large scale area (group work):
Assignment 1: site visit and data collection;
Assignment 2: strategic planning and landscape capacity study;

Phase 2: Territorial planning and site design (individual work):
Assignment 3: territorial planning of a medium scape landscape selected from the previous capacity study, in order to convert strategic planning into spatial proposals for different activities fitted into the landscape according to its assessed carrying capacity;
Assignment 4: design of a specific location for a new or restored or renovation recreation site, including site layout, vegetation design and management, design and construction of built elements and appropriate use of materials.

Teaching will be though a series of lectures spread throughout the length of the course, a site visit of a week's duration during which students will become familiar with the context, setting and sample location within the study area as well as collaborating with the Estonian students, the group and individual projects with interim and final presentations and crits. The combination of group and individual work will test different learning approaches. The projects will be presented as a combination of illustrated reports, plans and designs on posters. The work is split more or less into two halves, Phase 1 during September and October, Phase two in November and December. The site visit will be at the start of the semester. Learning support in the way of textbooks and other materials (case studies, websites etc) is readily available.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs The field trip to Estonia. Costs will vary according to flight prices etc. Could be between 300 and 450 pounds
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Gather data from a range of sources, select it for relevance, analyse it and use it to develop a strategic recreational plan
  2. Develop imaginative proposals for the development/rejuvenation of a large and complex area/site at both landscape planning and site design scales
  3. Work effectively as part of a group/team.
  4. Clearly communicate planning and design argument through graphical and verbal presentation
Reading List
Bell, S. (2004) Elements of Design in the Landscape (Second Edition). E.&F.N. Spon, London (available in Chinese)

Bell, S. (2008) Design for Outdoor Recreation (Second edition) Taylor and Francis, London. (available in Chinese)

Bell, S. and Apostol, D (2008) Designing Sustainable Forest Landscapes. Taylor and Francis, London

Bell, S., Simpson, M., Tyrvainen, L, Sievanen, T and Proebstl, U. (Eds) (2009) European forest recreation and tourism: a handbook. Taylor and Francis, London

Proebstl, U., Wirth, V., Elands, B. and Bell, S. (Eds) (2010). Management of recreation and nature-based tourism in European forests. Heidelberg: Springer- Verlag

Bell, S. (2012) Landscape: Pattern, Perception and Process. 2nd Edition. Routledge, Abingdon

K. Nilsson et al. (eds.), Forests, Trees and Human Health, Springer Verlag, Berlin
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The course will develop and support skills in gathering and critical selection and analysis of data; graphical, verbal and written presentation skills; working in a team environment where sharing and negotiating tasks, responsibilities and products are needed within time constraints; individual working to set deadlines:
Keywordsoutdoor recreation,planning and design,wild and natural landscapes,Estonia
Course organiserDr Simon Bell
Tel: (0131 6)51 5828
Course secretaryMrs Charlotte Iliakis
Tel: (0131 6)51 5740
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information