Youth in landscapes



The Youth in Landscapes Initiative unites young innovators (aged 18 – 35) to develop real-world solutions to land use challenges in partnership with organisations working on the ground.

Education landscape challenge

How might we create an education platform that will equip specialists of different land use sectors with the right knowledge, skills and mindset to become landscapes professionals?

Solution pitched at dragons den:

An online self-assessment tool called LandSelf that allows you to enter your current knowledge and both technical and soft skills and it will generate a customized curriculum to fill the gaps in your landscape knowledge.

Challenge description:

In the Education Landscape Challenge, we are asking youth around the world to create a fictitious landscapes academy that will train young professionals to become landscapes professionals of the 21st century.

Youth innovators will come up with a visionary design of how such a landscapes academy could look like including;

  • what will it teach (i.e. what would be the perfect curricula?)
  • how will it teach (i.e. using new/innovative and best in place education tools, technologies and methods)
  • which special events, activities and programs will it organize to enhance its goals (think of your best experiences and how they could be adapted into the academy)
  • which actor groups and parts of society will it cooperate with (i.e. networks and communities at all levels)
  • how will the youth participate in and contribute to the academy (e.g. which projects could youth take on)

Integrated landscape management initiatives that embrace a collaborative learning approach to advancing innovations are most effective for professionals, policymakers and producers, to collaboratively learn.

To scale up integrated landscape management, capacities must be strengthened among several key groups. First, an expanded cohort of professionals with knowledge and experience in implementing landscape approaches will be needed. This will require the development of appropriate multi-disciplinary curricula, practical training and effective extension programs both for practitioners as well as researchers, academics and regional bachelor’s students.

Second, to reduce the disconnect between integrated landscape initiatives and governmental planning, administrative, and funding structures, it is important to raise with policymakers the benefits of stimulating and engaging with multi-stakeholder processes and landscape approaches.

Third, we require carefully designed programs that increase capacity of producers and access to information and markets in order to contribute effectively to the design and implementation of integrated landscape management structures.

We want the landscape academy to become the ‘go-to place’ for strategically designed and carefully tested curricula, as well as innovative thought leadership, to strengthen capacities for practicing effective integrated landscape management.

The Landscapes Academy is a real-world project initiated by the Landscape for People, Food and Nature network) and is currently in the innovation phase.

Your best ideas will be most likely taken on to be implemented in the academy — this could be with your help and participation, also opening the way for possible involvement beyond the Global Landscapes Forum.

Think outside the box, be bold, colorful and brave, and keep in mind, your best ideas could be taken on and you could be the ones making it happen.


Challenge mentors:


Cora van Oosten is a Human Geographer with approximately 25 years of international experience in landscape approaches, governance, and participatory planning. She has worked as senior adviser, project manager and team leader, for various organizations, usually on long term assignment in Africa, Latin America and Asia. At present, Cora is employed as senior project leader at Centre for Development Innovation, Wageningen University, where she is in charge of a project portfolio related to landscape approaches, governance, and capacity development. Within this area, she has developed a keen interest in restoring degraded landscapes from both a public and a private perspective. By combining her trainings, project implementation and research activities she has developed a growing body of knowledge on landscape governance and landscape restoration in an economically viable and socially acceptable way.


James has been working at Wageningen University’s Centre for Development Innovation since 2011. He is responsible for the administration of the Wageningen Portals platform as well as being involved in a number of other projects. He is interested in processes of strategic communication, particularly inter-organisational communication practices and their effect on policy processes.

Challenge partners: