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2013/2014  KAN-CM_A44  Urban Sustainability in a Circular Economy Perspective

English Title
Urban Sustainability in a Circular Economy Perspective

Course information

Language English
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Changes in course schedule may occur
Monday 09.50-12.25, week 37-41, 45-47
Wednesday 09.50-12.25, week 36-41,43-48
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Niels Kornum - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
Lecturers include:
Christian E. Kampmann - CBS
Jesper Clement - CBS
Sofie Dam - CBS
Mark Vacher - KU Ethnology
Sander Bruun - KU Science
Thomas Astrup and Michael Z. Hauschild, DTU

This course forms part of the Green Innovation in Cities program sponsored by CIEL - http:/​/​ciel-lab.dk/​green-innovation-in-cities/​
Main academic disciplines
  • Business Ethics, value based management and CSR
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Organization
  • Political leadership, public management and international politics
Last updated on 30-04-2013
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide students with an opportunity to gain practical hands‐on experience with real‐world urban metabolism and cradle-to-cradle innovation projects and processes in the context of multi-stakeholder public-private collaboration, and reflect academically on the selected topics and processes and issues relating to working in a cross-disciplinary context. To be awarded the highest mark (12), the student, with no or just a few insignificant shortcomings, must fulfill the following learning objectives:
  • To be able to apply relevant models, concepts and theories from the curriculum to the selected projects
  • To identify and analyze the relationships between these models, concepts and theories mutually and in relation to the selected projects
  • To assess critically the value of these models, concepts and theories for developing green innovations in relation to the selected projects.
  • To be able to reflect on how different scientific fields represented in curriculum contribute to the overall course topic and how the students own scientific field relate to other scientific fields activated in the processes of the course, i.e. reflect on potential synergy from cross-disciplinarity
Course prerequisites
A basic knowledge and understanding of innovation, entrepreneurship, marketing, organization, management and sustainability is a good preparation for this course.
Oral Exam on the Basis of Miniproject:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
30 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Preparation time No preparation
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term, Week 50 (oral exams)
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure
By 2008, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities and by 2030 it is expected that more than 5 billion people live in urban settings. Changing the cities in a more sustainable direction is not an easy task, among other things, because it is costly to change existing structures.  An important part of developing cities in a more sustainable direction is to secure a better resource utilization based on circular economy principles by (re-)designing the urban systems handling the flows of citizens, i.e. transportation of citizens, goods and materials and services within and to and from the metropolis in new ways. These flows can be separated into two main cycles, the technical cycle and the biological cycle. Concerning the former the scarcity of precious metals and chemical elements or substances is becoming more and more pronounced. This underlines the importance of handling this flow as a resource and securing that each component and substance can be separated at the end of the product life-cycle. The biological cycle primarily consists of food to the inhabitants, yet in Demark only a minor proportion of the food waste from households are recycled and composted. All these flows generate transportation within and to and from the city. All the described systems are characterized with strong systemic interdependencies and multiple stakeholders that handle these systems. I line with this, knowledge and appropriation of technology is always embedded in local systems and implementation of sustainable solutions, understanding the nature of various contextualizing processes is of great importance. By adding cultural analysis and ethnographic methodology to theories on innovation and design processes the course aims at embracing sustainability not only in its potentiality (as possible technical solutions) but as possible implemented functionality, and understanding the context in which this functionality is provided.

The challenges facing businesses and the public sector to develop and market green innovations in the area of urban metabolism and cradle-to-cradle design are formidable. A wide range of subjects contribute valuable insights on these challenges. Without effective multi-stakeholder collaboration that involves, for instance, suppliers, public sector, business partners, employees, users / citizens and investors, progress is likely to be severely compromised. This course focuses on two areas of collaboration that to date have been largely overlooked despite their importance for green innovation – network collaboration of businesses with the public sector, e.g. public-private partnerships and network collaboration of businesses with users or consumers and the public sector with citizens. Today the public sector shapes the conditions under which many green innovation initiatives unfold through, for example, policies affecting taxation, pricing and procurement. Incentive structures for reducing energy and natural resource consumption are often relatively weak or totally absent. New solutions that require changes in functionality may require large investments and, as a consequence, it is important to unleash the creative potential of multi-stakeholder public-private partnerships by involving them in the design and implementation of new solutions.

In the course the students will work with case topics that are relevant to the study of urban sustainability and circular economy. Examples of such topics in an urban context is a) food waste b) analysis of and scenarios for the flow of citizens, goods and services c) waste handling, source separation and life-cycle analysis. These topics and the course in general is developed in collaboration with Copenhagen University, Science , Ethnology, Copenhagen University, Science and Technical University of Denmark

The academic world has only recently begun to study how innovation in the field of urban sustainability and circular economyfrom a multi-stakeholder public-private perspective. Consequently, the course will have to borrow theories from a number of other disciplines, e.g., organization, multi-stakeholder analysis , cultural analysis, public-private partnerships, innovation, etc.

Key business topics include the following related to urban sustainability and circular economy:
  • The role of business and public sector (process) innovations
  • The role of multi-stakeholder networks supporting these innovations
  • Public-private partnerships related to organizing, managing or implementing innovative projects
  • Entreprenuership & Innovation
  • Market Creation
  • , Life cycle assessment and cradle-to-cradle design
  • Appropriation and implementation of technology
Teaching methods
The intention is that students work in teams on project themes or cases developed in collaboration with core public and / or business stakeholders. These will also be involved as experts in the course. Presentation of the solutions developed by the student teams to relevant stakeholders is a central element of the course. This is guided by general and project specific lectures.
Expected literature
Erik Swyngedouw (2006): Circulations and metabolisms: (Hybrid) Natures and (Cyborg) cities, Science as Culture, 15:2, 105-121
Sabine Barles (2010): Society, energy and materials: the contribution of urban metabolism studies to sustainable urban development issues, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53:4, 439-455
Jones, R., Kornum, N. (2012). Managing the co-created brand: Value and cultural complementarity in online and offline multi stakeholder ecosystems.Journal of Business Research,
Lieberherr-Gardiol, F. (2009). Urban sustainability and governance : issues for the twenty-first century. International Social Science Journal, 59(193/194), 331–342
Peter Baccini (1997): A city's metabolism: Towards the sustainable development of urban systems, Journal of Urban Technology, 4:2, 27-39
Hossein Azadi, Peter Ho, Erni Hafni, Kiumars Zarafshani & Frank Witlox (2011): Multi-stakeholder involvement and urban green space performance, Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 54:6, 785-811
Greve, Carsten (2010): Public-private partnerships in Business and Government. Ch. 25 in The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government, pp.585-599
Slater, R., Frederickson, J., Thomas, C., Wield, D. and Potter, S. (2007): A critical evaluation of partnerships in municipal waste management in England. Resources, Conservation and recycling, No. 51, pp. 643-664.
Thøgersen, John (1994) A model of recycling behaviour, with evidence from Danish source separation programmes.  International Journal of Research in Marketing. Vol. 11 Issue 2, 145-163.
Breton, Tony (2009).Source Separation Trends In UK.   BioCycle. Aug, Vol. 50 Issue 8, 38-40.
Saft, R. J.; Elsinga, W. (2006). Source Separation, Composting A Win For Greenhouse Gas Reduction. BioCycle. Aug, Vol. 47 Issue 8, 50-53.
Amabile et al (1996) Assessing the Work Environment for Creativity. Academy of Management Journal, Vol. 39, No. 5. 1154-1184.
Garcia and Calantone(2002).A critical look at technological innovation typology and innovativeness terminology: a literature review. The Journal of Product Innovation Management 19,  110-132
Corvellec and Bramryd (2012). The multiple market-exposure of waste management companies: A case study of two Swedish municipally owned companies. Waste Management 32, 1722–1727
Heidegger, Martin: 1977, ”The Question Concerning Technology”, in The Question Concerning Technology – and Other Essays, Garland Publishing, INC, New York.
Vacher, Mark:  2010,  “Looking at Houses, Searching For Homes.: An Anthropological Analysis of the Relationship Between Danish Homeowners and Their Houses”.  Ethnologia Scandinavica.
Kusenbach, Margarethe: 2003, “Street Phenomenology : The Go-Along as Ethnographic Research Tool”,Ethnography 2003 4: 455,
Anders Bjørn and Michael Z. Hauschild (2012) Absolute versus Relative Environmental Sustainability What can the Cradle-to-Cradle and Eco-efficiency Concepts Learn from Each Other? Journal of Industrial Ecology (Forthcoming) 
Braungart, M., McDonough, W. and Bollinger, A. (2007). “Cradle-to-cradle design: Creating healthy emissions – a strategy for eco-effective product and system design,” Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol.15, pp.1337-1348.
Christensen, T. H. (2011) 1.1 Introduction to Waste Management, in Christensen, T.H. (ed.), Solid Waste Technology & Management, Blackwell Publishing
Christensen, T.H. (2011) 1.2 Introduction to Waste Engineering, in Christensen, T.H. (ed.), Solid Waste Technology & Management, Blackwell Publishing
Christensen, T.H., Simion, F., Tonini, D. & Møller, J. (2011): 3.3 LCA Modeling of Waste Management Scenarios, in Christensen, T.H. (ed.), Solid Waste Technology & Management, Blackwell Publishing
Salhofer, S., Unger, N. & Bilitewski, B. (2011) 4.1 Waste Prevention and Minimization: Concepts, strategies and MEans, in Christensen, T.H. (ed.), Solid Waste Technology & Management, Blackwell Publishing
Gustavsson, J., Cederberg, C., & Sonesson, U. (2011). Global food losses and food waste. Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (p. 29). Düsseldorf, Germany.
Parfitt, J., Barthel, M., & Macnaughton, S. (2010). Food waste within food supply chains: quantification and potential for change to 2050. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 365(1554), 3065–81.
Carlsson-kanyama, A. (1998). Climate change and dietary choices — how can emissions of greenhouse gases from food consumption be reduced ? Food Policy, 23(3), 277–293.
Garnett, T. (2011). Where are the best opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the food system (including the food chain)? Food Policy, 36, S23–S32.
Last updated on 30-04-2013