Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)

CMM41A Elective Course 4 ECTS
Period -
Instructor David Gouldsborough


Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) has been gaining in popularity all over the world as a means to systematically apply an ecosystem-based approach to manage coastal and marine based values. MSP’s rapid increase in application may result in it being the most commonly used integrated coastal / ocean management regime globally. In turn, implementation of MSP outcomes are becoming better understood and the benefits and impacts are contributing to resource managers and policy makers’ ability to adapt and refine the MSP process and resulting products. This course is designed to cover an in-depth analysis of the MSP process, illustrate the variety of outcomes possible, explore specific tools and techniques (ranging from governance and ecological to cultural, social & economic) and relate the theory of MSP to practice by way of examining specific case studies worldwide. The challenges, lessons learned and future opportunities for MSP will also be explored from an applied perspective.


At the end of the course, students will:

  • Connect core principles in ecological and coastal zone management theory to practice;
  • Understand the MSP process from an applied perspective;
  • Be familiar with the variety of MSP outcomes / products and why they may differ from place to place;
  • Understand the variety of tools and techniques used in the process and their strengths and weaknesses;
  • Hone their critical thinking, written and verbal communication skills through course assignments;



David Goldsborough currently works at the department of Coastal and Marine Management, Van Hall Larenstein University of Applied Sciences. David does research on marine governance. Special interests are: marine conservation, marine protected areas, marine spatial planning, fisheries, and sustainable island management. A current project is 'MarCons: Advancing marine conservation in the European and contiguous seas (COST Action 15121).'