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2014/2015  KAN-CCMVV3007U  Urban Sustainability in a Circular Economy Perspective

English Title
Urban Sustainability in a Circular Economy Perspective

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 15 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 70
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Richard Jones - Department of Marketing (Marketing)
This course forms part of the Green Innovation in Cities program sponsored by CIEL - http:/​/​ciel-lab.dk/​green-innovation-in-cities/​

It has been prepared together with the Dr Mark Vacher from the Saxo Institute of the University of Copenhagen and includes lectures from CBS, the University of Copenhagen and DTU.
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 10-04-2014
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 Written Product:
Exam ECTS 15
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. 30 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
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period December/January
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure
The exam project focuses around a key urban redevelopment site in the Copenhagen region. Students will be put into groups of up to 5 members, which will reflect a wide range of skill sets. Group swill work together throughout the semester. Each group must address all of the following challenges:

1. To define a key problem the group will address: This requires the group to reflect upon members' skill sets, motivation and ability to envision solutions based on an understanding of the limitations and possibilities that the case site contains
2. To analyse and understand the perspectives of a limited number of key stakeholders related to the site and your problem: Groups are required to identify 2 or 3 relevant key stakeholders and undertake empirical investigation of their involvement, concerns and considerations in relation to the case site and the problem and to use them to aid in envisioning innovate sustainability solutions.
3. To develop a business canvas for the chosen solution. The business canvas will set out a clear solution to the problem identified. The group will identify the role of key stakeholders in implementing the solution and use insights from empirical work to develop innovative solutions within the framework of the closed economy. Considerations should include but not necessarily be limited to:
a.     How the solution solves key environmental, economic and social issues related to the site
b.    How the solution involves key stakeholders and how this is envisaged to secure the long term implementation of the solution
c.     The key resources required for the solution and where from where they will be accessed
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.  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. In 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 are a) Green Building standards for urban redevelopment sites 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.
Further Information
Changes in course schedule may occur
Monday 09.50-12.25, week 36-41, 43-47
Expected literature
This course pulls from a wide variety of academic journal articles relevant to giving the student the necessary knowledgfe to understnad, analyse and present their ideas to solving the case exam project.
Last updated on 10-04-2014