Sustainicum Collection

Consus The aim of the project is to establish a regional science-society network for sustainability innovations in Albania and Kosovo in order to strengthen the connection and collaboration of institutions in the field of higher education, research and practice.

Resource facts

  • Less than 5 students
  • up to 1 semester
    more than 1 semester
  • English, Shqip

Resource Description

Instruction file

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Urban Dendrology - Improving urban green areas(Resource ID: 285)

x Please note: module with excess length - more than
7 lecture units required!
Urban forests are all the trees and other vegetation that grows in places where people live, work and play, from small communities in rural areas to large metropolitan cities. This includes trees on public and private land, along streets, in residential areas, parks and commercial developments, and in other locations within a community. They may be planted by design or have grown by accident (Miller 1988). Trees are an important part of our community, but tree planting, maintenance and protection require an investment of resources, including time and money. Are the benefits that trees offer to our communities bigger than their costs? The answer is yes. This class will make students aware of the need for improving green spaces, adding new spaces, knowing the benefits from trees and shrubs in our daily life. Also being aware of the obligations we must fill in, referring to trees and shrubs needs, which is much needed especially here in Tirana city where the green spaces aren`t enough compared to the population which lives here and in its suburban areas. Confronting the problems that are in the located places will be a big step forward to better understand why these problems happen, how to deal with them and how to improve the situation where it is possible. The collaboration between students and different stakeholders, like local staff from the municipality, environmental NGO`s staff or nursery garden visits will help bring the situation to a better state of green areas living condition. This is what we aim to achieve with our teaching method of fieldwork for urban green areas.
  1. Urban dendrology lessons

Knowledge taken in this subject together with other related knowledge, serves to architecture, urban planning, study and preservation of the environment students. Decorative plants in the landscape are a key element to a well-planned and design landscape. Growing of trees and shrubs add aesthetic, economic and environment values to the land itself.  The main objective is that the students could gain basic knowledge of trees, understand their classification, form, benefits, demands and uses. Lessons in class will be focused mainly in these topics:

Benefits  of the Urban Forest.
This is an introduction to urban forestry and it explains why your work with communities and individuals in urban forestry is important. This unit also includes information about how to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs related to the urban forest. 
Tree Biology
 This is an introduction to how trees grow and live. It describes how trees are structured, how they function, and how they grow and develop. It also explains how the urban environment influences tree growth and development.
This lesson is an introduction to identifying and understanding trees in the urban environment. It explains the classification of trees, naming trees and tree identification.
This unit also includes information on how characteristics of the urban environment influence tree identification. The lessons will deal with a lot of tree and shrub species in class.
Urban Soils
This lecture is an introduction to the role that soils play in the health of the urban forest.
It explains what soil characteristics are important for healthy tree growth. This unit also includes information about common soil problems in urban areas.
Site and Tree Selection
Provides information on how to select a site and species to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs related to urban forestry. It explains what factors you need to consider when selecting a planting site, tree species, and tree stock.
This unit also discusses how to match these factors to ensure healthy tree growth and development.
Tree Planting
This is a unit that will introduce factors to consider and techniques to implement when planting trees. It includes recommended guidelines for planting and post-planting. It also explains how to work with communities and individuals to successfully
plant trees.
Tree Maintenance
This is an introduction to the importance of providing regular maintenance to the urban forest. The basic steps to preventative maintenance are discussed, such as fertilization, mulching, pruning and tree protection.
Trees and Construction
This is an introduction to the relationship between construction activities and trees. It explains the importance of communication during the construction process. The focus is on the impact of construction activities on trees, the protection of trees during construction and care for the tree before and after construction.
Urban Forestry Planning and Management
This is an introduction to the importance of planning and managing the urban forest. It starts with a definition of an urban forest management
plan and why they are important. Then it discusses the steps involved in developing a management plan. It also includes information on the different components in a management plan.
Urban Forestry and Public Policy
This lesson is an introduction to understanding public policy and how it relates to urban forestry. It first describes the role that each level of government has in setting public policy related to urban forestry. Next it provides information on local government in more detail because this is where most urban forestry policy is created and implemented. The role that Tree Boards have with local government is also discussed. The final section reviews public policy tools that can be used to address urban forestry issues in a community.
     2. Our chosen teaching method that will be incorporated within the lessons is: Fieldwork
  •  Pre-field stage.

In class, we will discuss together what we aim to do with our fieldwork. Confronting a case study is part of our preparatory plan before fieldwork. We will program our field work days, places, tasks etc.

Our goal will be: how to better understand and improve urban green areas!

The work will be divided into small groups of students, fewer than 5 persons, so everyone will have the possibility to interact with others, share and gain knowledge contribute also. We will start by giving the students the opportunity to choose the site which can be a street, a small park, an eroded area or even a neglected space in the city, wich can be transformed in an attractive green area in the future. 

  • Field stage

Visiting urban green areas will be our main goal to better know trees and shrubs needs. The work will be followed by surveys in specific areas of the city decided in advance.

Different stakeholders will be part of our field work visits, like environmental organisation staff, local staff from municipality to interact and provide students with more information about the situation and the condition in general of these green urban areas. Their key role will be to give to student’s basic information about urban green areas plan or environmental knowledge in general and city green spaces in particular.

Students will start to identify species, check their actual status, needs, relation with the “grey infrastructure”, conditions in general and at the end propose better conditions/plant plots/distances etc for trees and shrubs. From this, students will be asked to highlight the most immediate intervention needed in the urban green areas and why they think this by explaining their proposed measures for the future.

Another visit will be to a nursery garden to get to know trees and shrubs suitable for planting in our specific urban area of study. The purpose of this visit will be that of getting professional information choosing the most adaptable trees and shrubs which will fit better with the environment condition in general.

  • Post – field stage  

All gathered data of our area of study will be shown in class, like inventories, trees and shrubs identification for our area of study, green and grey infrastructure conflicts, tree benefits (social, economic, environmental), presentation, and proposals to better condition and greater green areas in the future. 

Students will be required to make observations, gather and analyse information, make the mapping of the area and write a fieldwork report. Students together with stakeholders will contribute in bringing the situation of green areas in the city to a different level at least at a theoretical level. This will be possible due to collaboration and given contribution by students  performing with standards in planting trees and shrubs in urban areas and make sure that the urban forest will be in good condition of life in the future. The benefits of this collaboration between students and stakeholders will be a profitable situation for students itself and not only. 



The aim of this method used for teaching will be that of giving the students the chance to get involved directly in the process of surveying, understanding the problematics and trying to find a sustainable solution for the problem. This method will allow the students to experience relevant situations first hand from a variety of different perspectives which is vital for their academic development and practice also.

Benefits and Costs of the Urban Forest is the first unit in the Urban Forestry Manual.
This is an introduction to urban forestry and it explains why your work with communities
and individuals in urban forestry is important. This unit also includes information about
how to maximize the benefits and minimize the costs related to the urban forest.
Integration of Social Stakeholders
Different stakeholder from the municipality, nursery garden businesses will offer their experience in planting, taking care and management of the urban forest. The stakeholders from the municipality, nursery gardening and environmental NGO`s will be asked to participate in this teaching resource to give their contribution in their specialization field. Municipality staff will provide students with information on the situation of green spaces, inventories or plans of management of these public green areas. Nursery gardening staff will provide information on how and what to choose for planting based on the specific place and period and staff from environmental NGO will help with the updating of environmental legislation, standards to achieve based on EU legislation, international agreements etc.
Their contribution will not be unrewarded because the feedback from this collaboration, will be translated into future qualified experts who will know more and know how to deal with the management of urban forest in general. The challenge of making cities just green enough will be our goal.
•Very often fieldwork practices
•Students get in touch with real nature, outside the classroom
•Know real trees, shrubs their needs
•Understand the big differences between trees
• Knowing the best practices to choose a plant (Plant the Right Way)
- Interaction with local staff and organisation helps understanding better
- Interdisciplinary
- Related to local challenges/ needs
- Allows students to be exposed to new environments in order to increase their depth of understanding
- Direct involvement and responsibility of their own learning
- Not a lot of urban green areas to visit
- More interest from the stakeholders towards students
- Not enough time dedicated to students by the stakeholders
- Might have problems with school other programs related to students
- Different stakeholders might have other priorities, (personal agenda)
Learning Outcomes
-Provides the scientific, technical, and practical information needed for the tree species.
-Students will have the necessary information to work in the future within urban forest management.
-At the end of class, students will have enough knowledge to identify tree species and their needs.
- Students will understand the situations of green areas in urban areas and will have gained enough knowledge on how to deal with these kinds of problems in their future as a professional.
Relevance for Sustainability
Our teaching method of fieldwork is strong and sustainable because it gives students and lecturers a different approach to the learning. This new way of interaction encourages students to deepen their knowledge and believe in their decision making by understanding the way these green spaces function. Students after this fieldwork should have a greater understanding of the way they should deal with green areas and know more about the whole process of developing these green spaces in our cities in the future. What students gain from this method is the real involvement in some processes that they would confront only after they would finish their studies, thus this fieldwork can be called a successful method for everyone.
Related Teaching Resources
No specific previous knowledge / related resources required
Preparation Efforts
Preparation Efforts Description
Establish tasks that will be asked of the stakeholders throughout this teaching resource. They will be informed of the goal of this fieldwork that will be organised together with the students. –Identify best spots into city or at its edge to hold our field work –Get in contact with different stakeholder to organize our meetings at the field stage –Organize a presentation with interested environmental organisations to collaborate with us for the best results
Our field work program will be assessed in class in the form of a mini project, reports and discussions.
Following questions will be of relevance:
- Have students understood the case challenges?
- Are students able to apply their learning?
- Are students actively engaged in team work and can they successfully contribute to the decision-making process?
Credit/Certification Description
The assessment in this element/module for the class, recognized under the field work (project), will be 30% of the total evaluation of credits.
Funded by
This teaching resource, realised within the project ConSus, has been funded with the support of the TEMPUS of the European Union. The contents reflect the views of the authors, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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Roland Lleshi
This teaching resource is allocated to following University:
U_POLIS - POLIS University
POLIS University


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Teaching Tools & Methods

  • Excursion
  • Mini-project
  • Written material
  • Computer program