Community and the Built Environment

Elective Course | 4 ECTS | Námskeið: CRD 12

Kennari: Kjartan Bollason

Námskeiðslýsing í kennsluskrá

Um námskeiðið

This course is about understanding how the built environment impacts our quality of life. We use different approaches to reach that understanding, by e.g. looking at how, depending on our different cultural background, we experience the built environment in a personal manner as well as part of society. We will undertake several field trips, mostly by foot through the town of Ísafjörður and learn about the story of planning and of the buildings of one of Iceland's oldest towns and one with the first city plan. The course also consists of lectures, group discussions and workshops.


I have a masters degree in environmental science and teach tourism and environment at the tourism department in Holar University in the north of Iceland. My research interest include the built environment, planning and environmental management, outdoor experience design, nature interpretation. I am a trained tour guide and have worked mostly as an outdoor and mountain guide.

Having grown up in the seventies in Ísafjörður it has been very interesting to come back and teach at the UW and see my home town with new and fresh eyes. The staff and teachers at the UW have also made the experience of teaching very enjoyable.


The course examines the perception of landscape/sea in connection with the built environment and the role of planning. This is based on the idea that the built environment, not less than nature, shapes people’s wellbeing, their sense of belonging and their willingness to live in a region or town.

On completion of the course, a student:

  • can understand and connect wellbeing and sense of place to the built environment. 
  • has the ability to distinguish perceptions of cultural landscape and its changes in place and time. 
  • can explain the role of planning and planning authorities. 
  • has the ability to suggest changes, orally and in written form, in the built environment on a scientific basis.