Module landscape planning

Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: GIUSY PAPPALARDO

Expected Learning Outcomes

The class discusses landscape dynamics in co-evolutionary and ecological-relational terms, to acquire tools for the construction and management of multi-actor and multi-scalar landscape planning processes. Specifically, the educational approach is aimed at achieving the following results.

  • Improvement of students' theoretical framework and practical knowledge. The course offers an in-depth study of the evolution of paradigms and the debate on landscape planning, in the international, national and regional contexts. This is aimed at developing students' ability to analyze and interpret landscape dynamics, as well as the fragility and potentialities of contemporary landscapes.
  • Acquisition of technical tools aimed at the activation and coordination of landscape planning and design processes, according to current conventions and regulations. Through practical activities, the course allows students to apply theoretical ideas through various experiences in the field, using learning approaches and innovative technological and organizational devices.


  • Development of critical skills, independent judgment, and collaborative habits. Students are invited to proactively contribute to the class. Cooperation is also encouraged, not only within the small working groups and within the class, but also within a broader learning group, which includes some local actors involved in reciprocal partnerships.

Course Structure

For attending students, the training approach includes:

  • a series of lessons aimed at discussing the theoretical framework, through a presentation of the course's topics, and the activation of debates in the classroom;
  • accompaniment in carrying out a group assignment, in which the concepts addressed during the lessons on the theoretical framework will be translated into practice; if necessary, the theoretical contents will be integrated according to the new themes that emerge during the development of the assignment (circular relationship between theory and practice);
  • integration with complementary training activities, such as guided site visits and fieldwork, in-depth seminars, interventions by external guests, listening experiences, and co-planning with local actors.

The course is organized in such a way as to allow for deepening of the theoretical framework and development of the assignment during class hours as much as possible, so as to leave the necessary time for individual study to go in-depth on the topics of the course. 

For non-attending students, the training approach includes:

  • individual reading and study of teaching materials to achieve an understanding of the theoretical framework of reference;
  • conducting an individual exercise that involves the preparation of an essay (30,000 characters including spaces) on a topic agreed with the teacher; the essay can be correlated with appropriate analytical and design drawings, always agreed with the teacher;
  • the possibility of using the reception/review hours (by appointment, agreed via email) for any clarifications and any revisions of the individual assignment.

If the teaching is given in a hybrid or remote way, the necessary changes with respect to what was previously stated may be introduced.

Information for students with disabilities and/or SLD:

To guarantee equal opportunities, and compliance with the laws in force, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on the didactic objectives and specific needs. It is also possible to contact the Professor in charge for CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration Services for Disabilities and/or SLD) of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Prof. Anna De Angelis.


Required Prerequisites

Knowledge acquired in the context of previous classes, in particular in the field of Technical Design, Analysis of the territory and settlements, Survey and computerized analysis of territorial data (GIS), History of the territory, and territorial planning. Understanding of the English language.

Attendance of Lessons

Attendance is strongly recommended, and it allows to gain some advantages, such as ongoing tests, group assignments, etc. 

In the case of workers or athletes students, I kindly ask you to indicate your condition to evaluate the best ways of attendance based on the different individual situations.

Reviews: by appointment, agreed in the classroom, or via email:

Detailed Course Content


Although the course is structured in two macro-blocks (theoretical reference framework and practical exercise), they are to be considered in close relationship with each other. The topics covered in the theory are designed to be contextually understood and matured through practical exercise.

Theoretical framework
  1. Introduction. Evolution of paradigms and the debate on landscape planning
  2. Elements of current legislation and landscape planning tools
  3. Paradigmatic cases of landscape planning
  4. Environmental history and evolutive dynamics of landscapes
  5. Elements of landscape ecology
  6. Commons and landscape planning as a multi-actor process
  7. Integrated landscape planning and design: the example of Ecomuseums
Practical assignment 

  1. Spatial analysis through GIS and collaborative data management
  2. Preparation of base maps for the study area
  3. State of planning in the study area
  4. Diachronic analysis
  5. Construction of a protocol of investigation and interaction with territorial actors (oral history)
  6. Map of urban landscapes 
  7. Strategic schemes, and pilot projects

Textbook Information

Below is the basic bibliography of the topics discussed in the classroom (presented in summary in the handouts) and the parts to be read, studied, and critically discussed.

Although an overall knowledge of the texts on the reference list is desirable (first list), the second list shows the minimum texts to be read to pass the exam.

The bibliography may be integrated with other texts adopted according to the debate held in the classroom and the issues that emerged during the exercise.

Reference list 

  1. Albrechts L., Barbanente A., Monno V. 2020. Practicing transformative planning: the territory-landscape plan a a catalyst for change. City, Territory and Architecture, 7(1).
  2. Borrelli N., Davis P., & Dal Santo  R. (2023). Ecomuseums and Climate Change. Ledizioni, Milano.
  3. Canciullo  G., 2002. Terra e potere. Gli usi civici nella Sicilia dell'OttocentoMaimone, Catania.
  4. de Varine H., 2017. L’ecomuseo singolare e plurale. Utopie concrete, Udine.
  5. Gambino R., 1997. Conservare Innovare. Paesaggio, ambiente, territorio. UTET, Torino.
  6. Geddes P, 1917. Cities in evolution. An introduction to the town planning movement and to the study of civics, Williams & Norgate, London.
  7. Iovino S., 2022. Paesaggio civileStorie di Ambiente, Cultura e Resistenza. Il Saggiatore, Milano.
  8. Lanzani, A. S., Goldstein, M. B., & Zanfi, F. (2015). Della grande trasformazione del paesaggio. In L’Italia e le sue regioni vol. 2 Territori (pp. 291-312). Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana.
  9. Magnaghi A., a cura di, 2016. La pianificazione paesaggistica in Italia. Firenze University Press.
  10. Magnaghi, A. 2019. La bioregione urbana nell’approccio territorialista. Contesti. Città, Territori, Progetti (1), 26-51.

  11. Magnaghi A., 2020. Il principio territoriale. Bollati Boringhieri, Torino.
  12. McHarg I., 1967. Design with Nature. John Wiley & Sons, New York, 25th-anniversary edition, 1992.
  13. Mumford L., 1963. La città nella storia. Edizioni di comunità, Milano.
  14. Pappalardo G., 2021. Paesaggi tenaci. FrancoAngeli, Milano.
  15. Pizziolo G., Micarelli R., 2003. Dai margini del caos. L’ecologia del progettare. Alinea, Firenze.
  16. Sanfilippo E.D., 1983. Le ragioni del recupero dei centri minori meridionali. Tre casi a confronto in Sicilia: Augusta, Lentini e Caltagirone. Officina Edizioni, Roma.
  17. Sereni E., 1982. Storia del paesaggio agrario italiano. Laterza, Bari, XX Ristampa, 2018.
  18. Settis S., 2013. Il paesaggio come bene comune. La scuola di Pitagora, Napoli.
  19. Settis S., 2017. Architettura e democrazia. Paesaggio, città, diritti civili, Einaudi, Torino.
  20. Scott, M., Lennon, M., Tubridy, F., Marchman, P., Siders, A. R., Main, K. L., ... & Johnson, C. (2020). Climate disruption and planning: resistance or retreat?. Planning Theory & Practice21(1), 125-154.
  21. Spirn A. W., 2003. Urban ecosystems, city planning, and environmental education. In Berkowitz A., Nilon C.H &Hollweg K.S., Understanding urban ecosystems, 201-212, Springer, New York, NY.
  22. Steiner F., 2004. Costruire il paesaggio. Un approccio ecologico alla pianificazione del territorio. McGraw-Hill, Milano, II edizione.

Mandatory texts 

  • Lanzani, A. S., Goldstein, M. B., & Zanfi, F. (2015). Della grande trasformazione del paesaggio. In L’Italia e le sue regioni vol. 2 Territori (pp. 291-312). Istituto dell’Enciclopedia Italiana.
  • Magnaghi, A. 2019. La bioregione urbana nell’approccio territorialista. Contesti. Città, Territori, Progetti (1), 26-51.
  • Sanfilippo E.D., 1983. Le ragioni del recupero dei centri minori meridionali. Tre casi a confronto in Sicilia: Augusta, Lentini e Caltagirone. Officina Edizioni, Roma; pp: 7-22; 36-49; 57-62; 69-77; 80-82; 93-99; 108-112; 129-133.
  • Settis S., 2013. Il paesaggio come bene comune. La scuola di Pitagora, Napoli.


A selection of texts and materials with a focus on the study area

Handouts in the form of presentations projected in the classroom.

Essays, regulations, and extracts from manuals as an appendix to the handouts.

Files needed for the assignment.

This material will be published on the digital channels of the course, as indicated in class


Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Introduction. Evolution of paradigms and the debate on landscape planningTexts: 5 (16-43; 159-199), 7, 8, 11 (37-67), 14 (53-86), 15 (341-394); plus other educational material 
2Elements of current legislation and landscape planning toolsText: 9; plus other educational material 
3Paradigmatic cases of landscape planningTexts: 1, 22 (149-196); plus other educational material 
4Environmental history and evolutive landscape dynamics Texts: 6 (1-45), 12 (29-31; 363-486), 13, 16 (pp: 7-22; 36-49; 57-62; 69-77; 80-82; 93-99; 108-112; 129-133); 17; plus other educational material 
5Elements of landscape ecology Texts: 10, 12, 21; plus other educational material 
6Commons and landscape planning as multi-actor processTexts: 3, 18, 19; plus other educational material 
7Integrated landscape planning and design: the example of EcomuseumsTexts: 2, 4; 20; plus other educational material 

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

First, the exam consists of a written test to verify the knowledge gained through the study of the theoretical framework.

If students join the ongoing tests (recommended for students that attend the class), the written test will be carried out in two phases: 5 open-ended questions as part of the first test, held in mid-November, and 5 other open-ended questions in the second test, held at the end of January.

If you do not participate in the ongoing tests (for non-attending students), the written exam will be conducted in a single test (10 open-ended questions), carried out during the exam sessions.

Each question is assigned a score from 0 to 3. The sum of the scores determines the individual starting mark (from 0 to 30). The score is assigned according to the completeness, correctness, clarity, and critical judgments expressed through the answers. 

For attending students, the exam also consists of an oral test relating to the presentation and discussion of a practical group assigment, which will be awarded a rating: insufficient (does not allow to pass the exam), sufficient (18-23), good (24-26), distinct (27-29), excellent (30).

For non-attended students, the oral exam consists of the discussion of an individual paper, which will be awarded a rating: insufficient (does not allow to pass the exam), sufficient (18-23), good (24-26), distinguished (27-29), excellent (30).

The assignment is assessed on the basis of the completeness, correctness, legibility, and originality of the documents displayed. The discussion of the assignment is assessed according to the ability to connect with the theoretical framework.

Both for the written exam and for the oral presentation of the assignment, evaluation is based on the quality of the contents, the ability to critically connect the contents of the course, the ability to report examples, the property of language, and the expressive ability of students.

For attending students, the evaluation will also take into account the proactive participation in the class discussion, the contribution offered to the class group, and to the broad learning group, including the local actors with whom the course will be in partnership. Proactive participation will be surveyed regularly and discussed periodically. At the end of the course, each student will receive a brief qualitative note on this aspect.

The final grade will be calculated through the arithmetic average between the written exam and the practical assignment.

The grade can be positively corrected according to the proactive participation in the class discussion, and the contribution offered to the class group.

Verification of learning can also be carried out electronically, should the conditions require interpersonal distancing and according to indications provided by the University.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

  1. Discuss the evolution of the concept of landscape, in relation to the theoretical framework presented in the class
  2. Discuss the main new elements introduced by the European Landscape Convention
  3. Describe and discuss a virtuous example of landscape planning
  4. The main transformations of Italian agricultural landscapes in the twentieth century
  5. What are the effects of impervious surfaces on the urban water cycle
  6. What are usi civici, and what importance do they play in the debate on contemporary landscapes
  7. What are Ecomuseums, and how can they contribute to the debate on landscape planning
  8. What are the evolutive dynamics of cities in history 
  9. What is a bioregion for the territorialist approach 
  10. What are the main phases of the environmental history for Lentini territory