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2017/2018  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 20-02-2017

Relevant links

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 topics under the overall theme.
  • To demonstrate overview and understanding of how, why and when to apply relevant methodologies and theories from the curriculum in a field-study of complex cultural urban settings.
  • To apply, assess and compare critically the chosen methodologies, theories, and concepts in the case of urban gardening and farming.
  • Meet basic academic requirements for project writing, including level of written English and references.
Course prerequisites

Copenhagen: August 21st – September 1st 2017
Rome: September 4th – September 15th 2017

Final report submission date: September 29th 2017

We will send you readings for the course on August 7th, 2016. We expect you to read this material before we meet for the exchange kick off in Copenhagen on August 21st

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


Two weeks after the four weeks of exchange CBS students must hand-in an individual report (approximately 15 pages). Students will be expected to use the literature and theories introduced in the course as well as to identify additional literature where appropriate.

Course content and structure

Course objectives

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. Professors from Sapienza University of Rome and CBS and the Copenhagen-based design consultancy Urgent Agency will teach students from both universities.


The Rome-Copenhagen Urban Challenge targets 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 macro and micro-scale 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. It 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 centre on the six following overall challenges:


  • Community development

  • Business model and business model innovation

  • Circular economy thinking

  • Gardening and agriculture: food and leisure

  • Cultural heritage and urban green design

  • The planning and management of green space


The course has two key learning objectives:


  • 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, Urgent Agency’s methods and design thinking. 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.


  • To enable student to critically assess the role of urban agriculture and gardens in different socio-economic and cultural contexts, keeping into account the aims of different groups of potential stakeholders (including pupils, migrants, and retired persons) together with the relevant constraints and opportunities in each context. As a major ingredient of this critical assessment, the students should also be able to contextualise urban agriculture and the management of green areas within global processes such as migration, increasing inequalities and social movements.



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 comparison of aims, constraints and opportunities


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


  • Agriculture and local food markets in urban contexts

  • Gardening and collective use of natural resources and cultural heritage

  • Gardening as a tool for social integration and neighbourhood development

  • Organizational issues in urban planning with specific reference to community involvement

  • Sustainable development in local food production

  • Lifestyles and consumption patterns

  • Business models 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 critically addressing urban challenges.



Course content and 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 21st, 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 21st through September 1st) and then two weeks in Rome (September 4th through September 15th). 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.


At the end of the two weeks exchange in Copenhagen groups of 4-5 students will do a mid-way presentation. 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 of exchange in Rome, groups of 4-5 students will present the results of the activities that they have carried out in Copenhagen and in Rome to faculty at EuroSapienza and CBS (and local stakeholders to the possible extent).


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


The day will generally start around 9AM and end around 6PM. Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements, including flights to and from Rome and accommodation. We have created a facebook group for students and alumni and strongly encourage students to help each other find affordable accommodation.


Each student will receive a student stipend at € 275, but will have to cover any additional costs.


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



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

Sara Baiocco, PhD, Sapienza University of Rome

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.
Feedback during the teaching period
A lecture and Q&A session will be given during the course to prepare the students for the written assignment. Professor Esben Rahbek Gjerdrum Pedersen has weekly office hours. Students are encouraged to ask if they have any questions regarding the exam.
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:

  • Allen, P., FitzSimmons, M. Goodman, M. and Warner, K. (2003) ’Shifting plates in the agrifood landscape: the techtonics of alternative food initiatives in California.’ In: Journal of Rural Studies, Vol. 19: 61-75.

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

  • Davis, G. F. and White, C. (2015) ‘Overview of the social movement framework’. In: Changing your Company from the Inside Out: A Guide for Social Intrapreneurs, USA, Harvard Business Review Press (Chapter 3): 29-46. 

  • 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. Food markets in metropolitan areas


  • Cavallo, A., Pellegrino, D., Di Donato, B., & Marino, D. (2015). VALUES, ROLES AND ACTORS AS DRIVERS TO BUILD A LOCAL FOOD STRATEGY: THE CASE OF AGRICULTURAL PARK OF “CASAL DEL MARMO”. In 7th International Aesop Sustainable Food Planning Conference Proceedings. Politecnico di Torino.

  • Garrett, S., & Feenstra, G. (1999). Growing a community food system. Washington State University Cooperative Extension.

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

  • Sonnino, R. (2009). Quality food, public procurement, and sustainable development: the school meal revolution in Rome. Environment and Planning A41(2), 425-440

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


    2. The political economy of urban agriculture


  • H. Bernstein, Food Regimes and Food Regime Analysis: A Selective Survey, Conference Paper No. 1, International academic conference on “Land grabbing, conflict and agrarian‐environmental transformations: perspectives from East and Southeast Asia”, 2015.


  • FAO, Growing Greener Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, An FAO report on urban and peri-urban agriculture in the region, 2014.


  • D. Hoornweg P. Munro-Faure, “Urban Agriculture For Sustainable Poverty Alleviation and Food Security”, Position Paper, Africa, FAO, 2008.


  • B. Jessop, “Fordism and Post-Fordism: a Critical Reformulation”, Bobjessop.org, 2013


  • Ph. McMichael, A food regime genealogy, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 36:1, 139-169, 2009.


  • Regional Council of Ile de France Region, “Hungry City. Feeding the City of Tomorrow”, Proceedings of the International Conference on Urban Food Governance; December 2012.


  • Scones, Sustainable Livelihoods and Rural Development, 2015, Fernwood Publishing (Halifax & Winnipeg) and Practical Action Publishing (Oxford)


  • Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Urban and Peri-urban Agriculture for Food Security in Low-income Countries. Challenges and Knowledge Gaps, SLU Global 2014.


  • Zezza , L. Tasciotti “Urban agriculture, poverty, and food security: Empirical evidence from a sample of developing countries”, Food Policy 35 (2010) 265–273.


    3. Cultural heritage and common land


  • 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


  • Mougeot, L. J. (2000). Urban agriculture: definition, presence, potentials and risks. Growing cities, growing food: Urban agriculture on the policy agenda, 1-42.

  • 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. http:/​/​www.fupress.net/​index.php/​bae/​article/​viewFile/​10770/​10517

  • 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


  • Colding, J. Barthel, S. (2013), The potential of ‘Urban Green Commons’ in the resilience building of cities. Ecological Economics 86: 156-166. http:/​/​www.phytoremediation.be/​wp-content/​uploads/​2013/​07/​Urban-green-commons.pdf

  • 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 20-02-2017