New educations in climate change adaptation21-09-2010
Green Urban Transformers, Master of Disaster Management, Garden and Park Engineering, and Roof Gardener. These are just a few of the new training programmes offered in Denmark focussing on climate change
Predictions of the future climate in Denmark indicate that we
will be seeing more and more extreme weather events. If we are not
well prepared, this could have considerable implications for both
nature and society. Specialists with knowledge on how to prevent,
manage and adapt to the new conditions will be in great demand.
Therefore, an increasing number of practical and academic training
programmes are emerging, all offering teaching in various facets of
climate change adaptation.
Garden and Park Engineering
LIFE-Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, offers
the Garden and Park Engineering programme; a professional bachelor
education programme. The programme takes four years to complete and
includes two internships.
The Garden and Park Engineering programme is a concrete,
career-oriented programme, which can help facilitate adaptation of
urban environments to a changing climate. In the programme,
students are prepared for the task of ensuring we have a society
with space for both man and nature to thrive - also during more
extreme weather events in the climate of the future. During the
course of the programme, students work creatively and
solution-oriented on the basis of a technical and theoretical
introduction to subjects such as soil, water, plant life, and their
interconnectedness with the climate of yesterday, today and
Photo: Susanne Ogstrup. From a visit to Augustenborg's
Botanical Roof Garden in Sweden. Top: Green rainwater collection.
Bottom: Green roofs. Both photos illustrate elements which, by
using nature, can relieve the city in the event of flooding, heat
waves, and poor air quality. They are good examples of what garden
and park engineers can do.
Thomas G. Thaarup is studying to become a Bachelor of Forest
and Landscape Engineering. However, he would have chosen the Garden
and Park Engineering programme, had it existed when he began his
studies. The Garden and Park Engineering programme's strong focus
on urban development, in combination with nature and the
environment, appeals especially to him, as well as the fact that it
is both a practical and academic programme.
"I am most receptive to learning when theory and practice are
coupled, when I study the relevant literature and get out and see
the situations in real life. This is exactly what the future
garden and park engineers will get to do," says Thomas G.
Many politicians and technicians often overlook the fact that
nature can be a part of the solution to climate change problems.
However, if such solutions are to be used, a high professional
level is required in terms of planning and the scientific basis.
There must also be room to think innovatively. Susanne Ogstrup, who
is head of studies in the new Garden and Park Engineering
"We have to get rid of the conventional way of thinking. Commerce
and industry are looking for these qualifications, exactly because
the 'old' programmes did not have this combination of an
innovative/engineering approach, on the one hand, and urban
planning and the natural sciences on the other."
The first bachelors of gardening and engineering will graduate in
2015. "They will not be experts, but they will have an overall
understanding of the relationship between nature and society, and
this understanding is necessary for our reorganisation of society
to match a changing climate," says Thomas G. Thaarup.
Disaster Risk Management
The three-and-a-half-year professional bachelor education
programme in Disaster Risk Management is offered by the
Copenhagen-based Metropolitan University College. The first
students in the programme started in August 2010. Disaster risk
managers are trained to manage risks and disasters with emphasis on
response, risk assessment and preparedness.
Ejgil Boye Mortensen, who is head of staff at the Danish Emergency
Management Agency's decentral department in Thisted, Jutland, is
not convinced the programme is comprehensive enough. Although the
programme gives a basic introduction to emergency management and
preparedness, the work during response in real life varies so
considerably, that the necessary competencies primarily have to be
acquired through practical and personal experience more than
through basic training.
Source: Ejgil Boye Mortensen. The Danish Emergency Management
Agency' work during deployment in Poland in the spring of 2010,
when Poland was struck by extensive flooding.
However, Ejgil Boye Mortensen thinks the new programme will
be a relevant choice for a mid-level manager on his/her way up in
the system. The programme will also have potential for the
recruitment process in the Danish Emergency Management Agency, as
an admission basis for future new managers. Today, there is no
proper programme which qualifies for work in the Danish Emergency
"We recruit people from the street, so to speak. They are perhaps
school teachers or engineers, and when we have assessed that their
academic level is sufficient to begin with, we teach them a whole
lot more ourselves. It would be great if the new programme could do
this for us," says Ejgil Boye Mortensen.
Master of Disaster
The Master of Disaster Management programme is a Master's
programme at the University of Copenhagen. The programme is offered
in collaboration with Lund University, Sweden. The programme can
either be completed as a one-year full-time study, or it can be
completed over a period of up to three years and thus combined with
a full-time job.
The programme is based on a broad understanding of the disaster
concept. With emphasis on disaster and recovery, the students learn
to manage disasters at both strategic level and operational level.
They also learn to analyse and assess risks before, during and
after the disaster. The programme primarily has a global aim.
Climate change expert
The University of Copenhagen is expected to establish a new
programme for postgraduate students next year under the working
title 'Climate Change: Impacts, Mitigation and Adaptation (CCIMA)'.
The programme is an MSc-programme which takes two years to
complete, with a concluding Master's thesis.
The CCIMA will be a cross-faculty programme, where students can
acquire competences and expert knowledge within
climate-change-related fields. The aim of the programme will be to
equip students to understand, predict and prevent climate change,
as well as adapt society to climate change.
The programme is awaiting final accreditation and the first
students are expected to be enrolled in 2011.
Programmes for everyone
Climate change adaptation is often addressed in the form of
courses and subjects that are directed both at new students and
more experienced graduates in the business community. As
early as after lower secondary school (16-17 years), you can study
to become a roof gardener at either Roskilde Technical School or at
Green Academy, Aarhus. Here students learn to lay green roofs,
which offer many climate-related effects and advantages.
Photo: Kjeld Larsen og Søn a/s Anlægsgartnere, a Danish
landscape gardener company. A roof gardener working on a green
roof, which has been established with climate-adapted herbs and
Finally, architects, urban planners, and others employed with
urban development, can participate in the intensive continuing
training course Green Urban Transformers (GUTS) at Aarhus School of
Architecture. Here students learn to act strategically in a green
development where, amongst other things, they work with the city's
green structure in relation to climate change adaptation.