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Åsa Ode Sang

Åsa Ode Sang
Professor of Urban Vegetation Design with a focus on the perception, use and values associated with urban green infrastructure and how this could be included in management and planning for sustainable cities.


Green Infrastructure (GI) has proven to have great potential as a tool for addressing many of the most pressing global environmental issues. By taking advantage of the multiple ecosystem services provided by nature it can deliver specific, measurable, benefits to humans and ecosystems in the face of global challenges such as heat waves and air pollution especially. These challenges are especially intense in urban environments. Urban GI (UGI) provides a powerful, sustainable, mechanism through which cities can address the UN Sustainable Development Goals and  Agenda 2030.

In my research, teaching and collaboration I have recently focused on the role of vegetation composition with regards to perception, use and various ecosystem services via interdisciplinary research collaborations in multiple projects. The long-term goal is here to see how the vegetation could be planned, designed and managed to support cities work with the SDGs and Agenda 2030 for a sustainable urban development.  Examples include exploring the natural environments contributions to preference and public health through pathways such as biodiversity and attachment. The research carried out has received funding form national research foundation FORMAS, VINNOVA as well as international funding through EU and the Norwegian Research Council.


Since 1998 I have been involved in the teaching of GIS for landscape architects and was responsible for the development of the current MSc course within digital landscape analysis for landscape architects. Beside the teaching within landscape analysis I frequently lectures on visual aspects of landscape and urban forests within a range of courses.


My research addresses the globally pressing needs to better understand and plan for urban environments, exploring the link between green space quality, perception, preference, use and public health. Within this line of research I have specifically looked at qualities of urban vegetation such as degree of perceived naturalness and exploring methods for assessing these types of qualities. This lead to the exploration phsysiological response mechanisms such as eye-movement tracking, pulse monitoring and EEG measurements. This is currently explored in relation to the newly established SLU SENSOLA Lab, which has equipment for measuring a range of physiological responses but also allow the possibilities to explore management options and vegetation dynamic in a VR environment.

In 2015 I coedited a report for the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency (Naturvårdsverket) reviewing, in collaboration with staff at The James Hutton Institute, scenario development for a wide range of human and biophyscial dimensions of ecosystem services in Sweden.

My research spans local to global issues and collaborations, including engagement with cities in Africa, US, China and South-America exploring the role of urban ecosystems in sustainable development through projects funded by Formas, H2020 and SIDA (Swedish Development Aid). Within the project Urban Green Infrastructure for Optimizing Long-Term Provision of Ecosystem Services: Developing a Universal Framework Under Different Cultures and Climates we explored the role of Urban Green Infrastructure contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, working with both Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Cincinnati, US. The H2020 funded project REGREEN, explores how nature-based solutions (NbS) could be used for smart, green and healthy urban transitions in Europe and China. Within this project I am having the role of WP leader with the responsibility for coordinating the involvement of the cities within the project in addition to carrying out research in the Landscape Laboratory at Alnarp with regards to its potential as a learning environment. Within the H2020 funded project CONEXUS, which started in September 2020 the focus is on knowledge transfer on NbS between Europe and Latin-America in which SLU have a lead role in working with the seven cities involved in the establishemt of Real Life Labs and the introduction of Nature-based Thinking within the cities involved.


Environmental analysis

I am interested in the development of indicators that captures peoples experience and valeu of their environment. As a mechanism for this I was part of developing a framework for visual indicators (the VisuLand framework) in 2003-2005, together with colleagues in Norway. This identified 9 key concepts that captures different aspects important for people´s perception and characterisation of the landscape. 

Currently I am leading a FOMA project on Empirical data for blue-green infrastructure which looks specifically on the city of Malmö with the aim of contributing towards the development of indicators for monitoring the Environmental goal Good Built Environment.  


My researc involves collaboration with national and international partners both from practice and universities. Between 2017-2019 I lead a MISTRA funded transdisciplinary research panel on urban ecosystem services, providing a forum for joint knowledge co-creation in the field of urban sustainability and resilience.  I recruited members from the three universities in the region (SLU, Lunds University and Malmö University) as well as staff from Malmö City Council, the regional development agency (Region Skåne), the National Housing Ministry (Boverket) and the the Skane Association of Local Authorities (Kommunförbundet Skåne). 

Within the FORMAS funded project . Urban Green Infrastructure for Optimizing Long-Term Provision of Ecosystem Services: Developing a Universal Framework Under Different Cultures and Climates and the on-going H2020 funded projects REGREEN and CONEXUS I am involved in research that together with cities explores how to include and work with natural environments for a sustainable urban development in Sweden, Europe, Latin-America and China. 


Currently I am the main supervisor for Frederik Aagaard Hagemann, Johan Pihel and a co-supervisor for Anna Sundling. I am also superviscontiniously supervising MSc students mainly within the landscape architect program on diverse topics such as landscape analysis, sustainable urbansiation, stormwater management and co-creation of natural environments with children. 

Selected publications

Aagaard Hagemann, Randrup, Ode Sang. 2020. Challenges to implementing the urban ecosystem service concept in green infrastructure planning: a view from practitioners in Swedish municipalities. Socio-Ecological Practice Research.

Ode Sang et al. 2020: Are path choices of people moving through urban green spaces explained by gender and age? Implications for planning and management. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening 49.

Butler, A., Sarlöv-Herlin, I., Knez, I., Ångman, E., Ode Sang, Å., Åkerskog, A. (2019). Landscape identity, before and after a forest fire. Landscape Research, pp. 1-12. 

Hägerhäll, C. Ode Sang, Å. Englund, J-E, Ahlner, F., Rybka, K., Huber, J., Burenhult, N. (2018). Do humans really prefer semi-open natural landscapes? A cross-cultural reappraisal. Frontiers in Psychology. 

Knez, I., Sang, A.O., Gunnarsson, B., Hedblom, M. (2018) Wellbeing in urban greenery: The role of naturalness and place identity. Frontiers in Psychology, 9 (APR), art. no. 491. 

Knez, I., Butler, A., Ode Sang, Å., Ångman, E., Sarlöv-Herlin, I., Åkerskog, A. (2018) Before and after a natural disaster: Disruption in emotion component of place-identity and wellbeing. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 55, pp. 11-17.

Andersson-Sköld, Y., Klingberg, J., Gunnarsson, B., Cullinane, K., Gustafsson, I., Hedblom, M., Knez, I., Lindberg, F., Ode Sang, Å., Pleijel, H., Thorsson, P., Thorsson, S. (2018) A framework for assessing urban greenery's effects and valuing its ecosystem services. Journal of Environmental Management, 205, pp. 274-285.

Hedblom, M., Knez, I., Ode Sang, Å., Gunnarsson, B. (2017) Evaluation of natural sounds in urban greenery: Potential impact for urban nature preservation. Royal Society Open Science, 4 (2), art. no. 170037, . 

Gunnarsson, B., Knez, I., Hedblom, M., Sang, Å.O. (2017) Effects of biodiversity and environment-related attitude on perception of urban green space. Urban Ecosystems, 20 (1), pp. 37-49. 

van den Bosch, M., Ode Sang, Å. (2017) Urban natural environments as nature-based solutions for improved public health – A systematic review of reviews. Environmental Research, 158, pp. 373-384. 

Ode Sang, Å., Knez, I., Gunnarsson, B., Hedblom, M. (2016) The effects of naturalness, gender, and age on how urban green space is perceived and used. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 18, pp. 268-276. 

Koppen, G., Sang, T.O., Tveit, M.S. (2014) Managing the potential for outdoor recreation: Adequate mapping and measuring of accessibility to urban recreational landscapes. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, 13 (1), pp. 71-83. 

Koppen, G., Tveit, M.S., Sang, Å.O., Dramstad, W. (2014) The challenge of enhancing accessibility to recreational landscapes. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift, 68 (3), pp. 145-154. 

Ode Sang, T., Tveit, M.S. (2013) Perceptions of stewardship in Norwegian agricultural landscapes. Land Use Policy, 31, pp. 557-564.

Ode, A., Hagerhall, C.M., Sang, N. (2010) Analysing visual landscape complexity: Theory and application. Landscape Research, 35 (1), pp. 111-131.

Fry, G., Tveit, M.S., Ode, A., Velarde, M.D. (2009) The ecology of visual landscapes: Exploring the conceptual common ground of visual and ecological landscape indicators. Ecological Indicators, 9 (5), pp. 933-947. 

Ode, A., Fry, G., Tveit, M.S., Messager, P., Miller, D. (2009) Indicators of perceived naturalness as drivers of landscape preference. Journal of Environmental Management, 90 (1), pp. 375-383. 

Ode, Å., Tveit, M., Fry, G. (2008) Capturing landscape visual character using indicators: Touching base with landscape aesthetic theory. Landscape Research, 33 (1), pp. 89-117. 

Tveit, M., Ode, Å., Fry, G. (2006) Key concepts in a framework for analysing visual landscape character. Landscape Research, 31 (3), pp. 229-255.



Professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture, Planning and Management
Telephone: +4640415428
Postal address:
Box 190
234 22 Lomma
Visiting address: Slottsvägen 5, Alnarp, Alnarp

Publications list: