In this course the relationships between ecological, environmental and spatial patterns and processes are analyzed. Different approaches to describe and assess environmental state and outlook reports are discussed. The landscape ecological system analysis is introduced as a tool to understand and foresee the impact of spatial transformations and land use change on ecological functioning. This provides the theoretical frameworks for the analysis of policy objectives, strategies and instruments regarding environmental problems, with a focus on water, nature and climate. Finally, it is examined how the general concept of ecosystem services and how urban ecology as a knowledge base for urban development can contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable society.