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2016/2017  KAN-CCBLC1000U  Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge

English Title
Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 15
Study board
Study Board for BSc og MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Economics
Last updated on 07-04-2016
Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • To identify and analyse relevant problems and challenges in relation to one of the challenges under the overall theme.
  • To demonstrate an understanding of how, why and when to apply relevant methodologies and theory from the curriculum in a field-study of complex cultural urban settings.
  • To assess and compare critically the analytical potential of the chosen methodologies, concepts and theories to business, in the case of urban gardening and farming.
  • Present their findings to faculty and key stakeholder/experts and in order to gain valuable feedback.
  • Meet basic academic requirements for project writing, including level of written English and references
Course prerequisites
Copenhagen: August 22nd – September 2nd
Rome: September 5th – September 16th

Applicants should send their motivational letter to Project Manager Ditte Lindharth Tellgren dt.ino@cbs.dk.

Please visit website for further information; www.urbanchallengealliance.com

Wwe will send you readings for the course on August 8th, 2016. we expect you to read this material before we meet for the exchange kick off in Copenhagen on August 22.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam
Number of mandatory activities: 2
Compulsory assignments (assessed approved/not approved)
Midterm project presentations in groups after the first two weeks.

Final project presentation after the four weeks of exchange to teachers and case company.
Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Students are required to participate actively in lectures and group work across disciplinary backgrounds and nationality.


At the end of the two weeks exchange in Copenhagen groups of 4-5 students will do a mid-way presentation presenting their preliminary project ideas. This presentation will be based on the students’ ethnographically driven analysis of challenges and opportunities to urban farming and gardening, focusing on the Copenhagen context. Here students will also draw on design thinking methods and Urgent Agency’s approach.


Terminating the two weeks exchange in Rome, the groups are due to present their final project ideas to faculty at EuroSapienza, Urgent Agency and CBS (and local stakeholders to the possible extent).


Students will be expected to use the literature and theories introduced in the course as well as to identify additional literature where appropriate.


Presentations could include videos, prototyping, keynotes, etc. The aim is the production of a nice, engaging pitch / presentation.


Two weeks after the four weeks of exchange CBS students must hand-in an individual report (approximately 15 pages).

Course content and structure

Course Description:

The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is part of the Urban Challenge Program. The overall aim is to act as a foundational unit for students, teachers, municipalities and businesses across disciplinary backgrounds and national borders to address urgent challenges and sustainability issues in different European contexts. The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge will focus on a study of urban farming and gardening in Rome and Copenhagen. Students from Sapienza University of Rome and CBS will be taught by professors from both universities and the Copenhagen-based design consultancy Urgent Agency.


The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is an elective targeting business and social sciences students at master level across different disciplines. The course will be offered to students at CBS and Sapienza University of Rome. The aim of the course is to explore in depth and share knowledge on challenges and opportunities to urban farming and gardening based on the Rome-Copenhagen contexts.


The vision behind the Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge is to create a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and cross-institutional elective focusing on the exchange of knowledge, ideas, and experiences on urban farming and gardening to promote and enhance urban sustainability across Rome and Copenhagen primarily, but also other cities and towns. Moving from urban farming and gardening, this elective aims at fostering sustainable innovation and knowledge on how to create more sustainable systems, facilitating and drawing on the cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural make up of the group.


The course will center on the three following overall challenges:

  • Community development
  • Business model and business model innovation
  • Circular economy thinking



Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen, Professor and Director of CBS Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility.


Kirsti Reitan Andersen, PhD, CBS Center for Corporate  Social Responsibility


Christian Pagh, Culture Director, Urgent Agency


Ricky Storm Braskov, Culture Analyst, Urgent Agency


Claudio Cecchi PhD, Professor, Sapienza University of Rome


Elisabetta Basile DPhil, Professor, Sapienza University of Rome


Pietro Garau, Professor, Architect and Planner



Goals of the Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge:

  • To build knowledge on urban gardening and farming
  • Strengthening the understanding of context in sustainability challenges

Strengthening analytical and methodological skills

  • To motivate innovation and entrepreneurship for urban sustainability, in relation to urban farming and gardening
  • To facilitate the exchange and creation of knowledge within communities engaged in urban farming and gardening through mobility and cross-city collaboration.


Course Description:

The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge (ROCUC) is a cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural elective promoted by the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) and EuroSapienza at Sapienza University of Rome.


Focusing on urban farming and gardening, the students will be asked to address and analyse some of the following questions:


  • The interplay between agriculture and local food markets in urban contexts
  • Gardening and collective use of natural resources and cultural heritage in urban contexts
  • Organizational issues in urban planning with specific reference to community involvement
  • Sustainable development in local food production
  • Lifestyles and consumption patterns
  • Business model and business model innovation


The case studies in Copenhagen and Rome are meant to support the student analysis of the themes and to inspire the development of ideas for addressing urban challenges.


Course Structure:

This elective will proceed during a six-eight week program including two weeks of exchange in Copenhagen immediately followed by two weeks of exchange in Rome. Students will work together in mixed study groups across cultures and disciplinary backgrounds. These groups will be created by faculty ahead of the exchange. In the two weeks before the kick off of the exchange in Copenhagen on August 22nd, students will be asked to prepare themselves for the exchange through readings (methodology, theory, and context).


By the end of the first two weeks the actual exchange will take place starting with two weeks in Copenhagen (August 22nd through September 2nd) and then two weeks in Rome (September 5th through September 16th). The stay in Copenhagen and Rome is structured through lectures, “company” visits, fieldwork, group work, and project preparation and presentation. Participants are expected to take part in all planned activities and help make this course a great experience for everyone involved, academically as well as culturally.

Teaching methods
Lectures, site visits, group work, field work, project presentations. The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge programme is a total of four weeks, with two weeks in each partner city. Up to 15 students from each university (30 in total) will work together throughout the programme in mixed study groups across cultural and disciplinary backgrounds. The stays in Rome and Copenhagen are structured through lectures, seminars, site visits, individual study time, group work, and project presentations.

Participants are expected to take part in all planned activities, and help make the summer school a great experience for everyone, both academically and culturally.

The overall learning objective is to enable the student to independently design and conduct a fieldwork-driven project in a hands-on multi-sited case study. The project should be designed by drawing on ethnography, design thinking and Urgent Agency’s methods. This includes the reflective ability to apply relevant theoretical perspectives and methodologies, and to select and develop types of field inquiry and presentation appropriate to the given topics.
Student workload
Lectures 60 hours
Preparations 50 hours
Site visits, group work, field work, project presentations 40 hours
Written report 40 hours
Further Information

Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements. However, we do provide a student travelling grant of 275 EURO per student.


There are plenty of opportunities for study grants, e.g. through www.legater.info/rejselegater/, www.studierejser.dk, or www.legatmidler.dk

Expected literature

Suggestions for readings:

Brown, T. (2008) Design thinking, Harvard Business Review,June, p. 85-92


Fisher, C. (2012) Sustainable Inter-Organizational Relationships in Regional and Non-Regional Agri-Food Supply Chains in Arfini, F., Mancini, M. C. and Donati, M. (Eds.) Local Agri-Food Systems in a Global World, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Girotra, K. and Netessine, S. (2014) Four paths to business model innovation, Harvard Business Review, July-August,


Kolko, J (2015) Design thinking comes of age, Harvard Business Review, September, p. 66-71


Massa, L and Tucci, C. L. (2014) Business Model Innovation, in The Oxford Handbook of Innovation Management, Dodgson, M., Gann, D. M. and Phillips, N. (Eds.). UK: Oxford University Press, p. 420-441


McCaffrey, S. J. and Kurland, N. B. (2015) Does “Local” Mean Ethical? The U.S. “Buy Local” Movement and CSR in SMEs, Organization and Environment, p. 1-21


Muratovski, G. (2016) Research for Designers: A Guide to Methods and Practice. London: Sage Publications Ltd.


Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. (2010) Business Model Generation, United States: John Wiley & Sons Inc.


Salcido, G. T. and Muchnik, J. (2012) Globalization/Fragmentation Process: Governance and Public Policies for Localized Agri-Food Systems in Arfini, F., Mancini, M. C. and Donati, M. (Eds.) Local Agri-Food Systems in a Global World, Newcastle Upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


1. Farming and food markets in metropolitan areas


1.1. Sonnino, R. (2014), The new geography of food security: exploring the potential of urban food strategies. The Geographical Journal. doi: 10.1111/geoj.12129

1.2. Morgan, K. Sonnino, R. (2013), The school food revolution: Public food and the challenge of sustainable development. Routledge, London.


2. Informality


2.1. Gërxhani, K. (2012), The Informal Sector in Developed and Less Developed Countries: A Literature Survey. Public Choice. Vol. 120, No. ¾: pp. 267-300

2.2. Chen, M. et al. (2002), Women and Men in the Informal Economy: A statistical picture. ILO, Geneva.

2.3. Chen, M. (2012), The Informal Economy: Definitions, Theories and Policies. WIEGO Working Paper No 1 August.


3. Cultural heritage and common land


3.1. Ostrom E. (1998), A Behavioral Approach to the Rational Choice Theory of Collective Action: Presidential Address, American Political Science Association, 1997. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 92, No. 1: 1-22

https://sites.google.com/a/uniroma1.it/claudiocecchi/1998 Ostrom.pdf?attredirects=0


4. Farming regulation on common, private and public land


4.1. Schmidt, O. Padel, S. Levidow, L. (2012), The bio-economy concept and knowledge base in a public goods and farmer perspective. Bio-based and applied economics 1.1: 47-63.


4.2. Plieninger, T. et al. Mainstreaming ecosystem services through reformed European agricultural policies. Conservation Letters 5.4 (2012): 281-288.


5. Management regulation for gardens and parks


5.1.Colding, J. Barthel, S. (2013), The potential of ‘Urban Green Commons’ in the resilience building of cities. Ecological Economics 86: 156-166.


5.2. Barthel, S. Parker, J. Ernstson, H. (2013), Food and green space in cities: a resilience lens on gardens and urban environmental movements. Urban studies: 0042098012472744.

Last updated on 07-04-2016