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Urban Ecology for the Development of Sustainable Living

Do you want to contribute to the development of a sustainable future? Are you interested in how you can design a living space that is for both humans and other organisms? Are you wondering about how plants and animals can cope in an urban environment? This cross-disciplinary, distance learning course may be for you.
Over the last decades, one of the most prominent change on earth is the conversion of land from wild to managed areas. The rapid growth of urban areas has an extremely large effect on both humans and other living organisms. Urban areas fragment the landscape but can also provide living space for a variety of organisms that could adapt to the urban environment.
In the UN developmental goal 11 - Sustainable cities and communities - it is stated that sustainable development cannot be achieved without transforming the way we design and manage our urban spaces. In this process, we need to consider the ecology of both beneficial organisms, such as pollinators, that could be a resource for food production, and pests that need to be managed.
In this course we will take a cross-disciplinary approach to prepare you to contribute to the development of sustainable future living, independent of your previous background in either natural or social science. Central to the course are the concepts of urban ecology and sustainable pest management, and how to design and maintain different types of green areas that are practical and adoptable for human activities

BI1380 Urban Ecology for the Development of Sustainable Living, 15.0 Credits

Urban Ecology for the Development of Sustainable Living

Syllabus approved



Biology Landscape Architecture

Education cycle

Master’s level

Advanced study in the main field

Second cycle, only first-cycle courses as entry requirements(A1N)

Grading scale

5:Pass with Distinction, 4:Pass with Credit, 3:Pass, U:Fail The requirements for attaining different grades are described in the course assessment criteria which are contained in a supplement to the course syllabus. Current information on assessment criteria shall be made available at the start of the course.



Prior knowledge

Knowledge equivalent to at least 120 credits, of which at least 30 credits in one of the following subject areas: biology, landscape architecture, horticultural science, agricultural science or environmental science, and English 6 or equivalent.


The course is interdisciplinary and integrates ecology, pest management and urban planning with the aim to promote sustainable urban development for plants, animals and humans.

On completion of the course, students will be able to:
• Explain scientific concepts of urban ecology and integrated pest management (IPM), adapted to urban areas
• Analyse historical perspectives and future challenges for the development of urban green areas
• Integrate ecology and other disciplines to develop sustainable cities with focus on plants and their interacting species
• Analyse how theoretical concepts and reasoning within and among different subject areas can contribute to the design and management of sustainable green urban areas
• Identify hypotheses and scientifically investigate them to draw conclusions about sustainable development of green areas
• Communicate scientific results, and their implications for sustainable management of green areas, to a broad audience.


The content ranges from natural science to social science perspectives, as well as their integration, for urban development in line with the UN sustainable development goals (e.g. SDG’s number 11 and 15). Central to the course are the concepts of urban ecology and sustainable pest management. Sustainable pest management relies on both profound ecological and biological knowledge of plant pests and beneficial organisms (e.g. pollinators), that is integrated with a social science perspective. The course addresses ecological processes within urban areas and how interactions between species (plants, microorganisms, insects) could be integrated with e.g. landscape architecture and environmental psychology, for developing sustainable urban areas for plants, animals and humans. Students are introduced to interdisciplinary work for designing and maintaining different types of green areas (e.g. parks, gardens, golf courses, urban farms) that are practical and adoptable for human activities. A range of perspectives from different actors (e.g. the public, decision makers, city planners and ecologists) of urban planning and management of urban green areas are part of the course, including perspectives of plant cultivation, biodiversity and invasive species, human health and wellbeing, landscape design and future challenges in both a Swedish and an international context. Students also have the opportunity to specialize within their own field and to understand how their own competences are needed to create sustainable cities.

The course is given via distance learning. Activities include lectures, seminars, case studies and other exercises and assignments, as well as project work.

Formats and requirements for examination

The examination is based on oral and written reports of individual and group work. To pass the course students must pass the examination and participate in obligatory activities.
  • If the student fails a test, the examiner may give the student a supplementary assignment, provided this is possible and there is reason to do so.
  • If the student has been granted special educational support because of a disability, the examiner has the right to offer the student an adapted test, or provide an alternative assessment.
  • If changes are made to this course syllabus, or if the course is closed, SLU shall decide on transitional rules for examination of students admitted under this syllabus but who have not yet passed the course.
  • For the examination of a degree project (independent project), the examiner may also allow the student to add supplemental information after the deadline. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Other information

  • The right to take part in teaching and/or supervision only applies to the course date to which the student has been admitted and registered on.
  • If there are special reasons, the student may take part in course components that require compulsory attendance at a later date. For more information on this, please refer to the regulations for education at Bachelor's and Master's level.

Additional information

The course is intended both for students with natural and social science background, and professionals.

Responsible department

Department of Plant Protection Biology

Further information

Determined by: Programnämnden för utbildning inom landskap och trädgård (PN - LT)
Biology field: Ekologi
There are no Grading criteria posted for this course

Course facts

The course is offered as an independent course: Yes Tuition fee: Tuition fee only for non-EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens: 38054 SEK Cycle: Master’s level
Subject: Biology Landscape Architecture
Course code: BI1380 Application code: SLU-40153 Location: Alnarp Distance course: Yes Language: English Responsible department: Department of Plant Protection Biology Pace: 100%