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2017/2018  KAN-CCBLC1002U  Riga-Copenhagen Urban Challenge

English Title
Riga-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 Fourth Quarter
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
  • Kristjan Jespersen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Intercultural studies
  • Experience economy
Last updated on 18-12-2017

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • An ability to produce a clear and concise summary of social, economic, physical and institutional issues in urban regeneration;
  • An ability to utilise case study material to illustrate an understanding of the processes involved in achieving regeneration;
  • A knowledge of the variety of agencies and programmes involved in regeneration;
  • An ability to relate theories of urban change to practical examples;
  • An ability to evaluate feedback from tutors and assimilate within project reports.
Course prerequisites
THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE IN COPENHAGEN AND RIGA, and includes one week of break for initial preparation of the project.
The preliminary dates are:
Copenhagen: April 30th to May 4th 2018
Preparation of project: May 2018
Riga: April 16th to 20th 2018

Final report submission date: June 2018

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

Final project presentation after the exchange to teachers and case company.
Riga-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 Summer and Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Each student must deliver an individually written report reflecting on the process and outcome of their group projects.

Course content and structure


The main objective of the course is to explain the concepts of urban regeneration and integrated urban development and to describe the specific processes, methods and instruments related to these. The teaching methods will include lectures, seminars, debates and workshops. The module will include theoretical and practical activities and will be mostly interactive. A number of best practices in the field will be analysed, especially based on the last 2 decades of European experience and projects will be developed for selected areas of intervention from Riga, Copenhagen and other cities. By the end of the course the students will get an adequate understanding and the capabilities to develop integrated projects and urban regeneration strategies. Communication skills and team working will also be developed during the module practical teaching sessions. The evaluation of the module will be based on the elaboration of an integrated regeneration project for a defined urban area. 



  • Theories of urban growth and change; how these might relate to urban regeneration; 
  • The mechanics of the property development process; 
  • The urban development process, and the role of planning;
  •  Policy formulation and implementation within local urban areas; 
  • The ways in which local problems and issues are tackled by different agencies; 
  • Physical regeneration and flagship developments; 
  • Institutions, agencies and funding mechanisms;
  • Public and private partnerships



Students will develop skills in: 

  • independent research and ability to abstract data with a degree of guidance; 
  • group working and the ability to both give and receive information and ideas;
  • investigation and evaluation of primary and secondary material with a degree of guidance; communicating effectively through graphic written and oral techniques.




Kristjan Jespersen (KJ)

Kristjan Jespersen is a Doctoral Fellow at the Copenhagen Business School (CBS). As a primary area of focus, he studies the growing development and management of Ecosystem Services in developing countries. Within the field, Kristjan focuses his attention on the institutional legitimacy of such initiatives and the overall compensation tools used to ensure compliance. He has a background in International Relations and Economics. Kristjan is one of the founding partners for the Nordic Rainforest Research Network, a research consortium that was granted the last remaining one million hectares of first growth forest in Borneo, Malaysia. Kristjan has formed close relationships with the Malaysian and Indonesian Palm Oil Associations, and consults on issues of sustainability. Kristjan was most recently appointed by the Copenhagen Business School, along with Professor John Robinson, to coordinate the sustainability components and management of the proposed 35,000 square meter campus construction project.


John Robinson (JR)

John Robinson was the Associate Provost, Sustainability at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and is a professor with UBC’s Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability and with the Department of Geography. Most recently, John has been appointed as Professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. In 2015, John was also made an Adjunct Professor at the Copenhagen Business School. Presently, John is one of the key project leaders for the new CBS Campus Redevelopment project. He works closely with Denmark’s municipal governments, utilities and businesses. John’s research focuses on the intersection of sustainability, social and technological change, behavioural change, and community engagement processes.


John was a Fellow of the Trudeau Foundation from 2008-10. In 2010, he won BC Hydro’s inaugural Larry Bell Award for advancing energy conservation in British Columbia. In 2011 he won the Education Leadership Award of the Canada Green Building Council, and in 2012 he received the Metro Vancouver Architecture Canada Architecture Advocacy Award and was named Environmental Scientist of the Year by Canadian Geographic magazine. As a Lead Author, he contributed to the 1995, 2001 and 2007 Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with Al Gore.


Jørgen Abildgaard (JA)

Jørgen is Project Director for the 2025 Carbon Neutral strategy and plan for the City of Copenhagen. http://www.kk.dk/sitecore/content/Subsites/Klima/SubsiteFrontpage.aspx


Jørgen is an experienced project manager and strategic adviser who has worked on several projects in Denmark and other Nordic countries and internationally for companies, organizations and governmental administration. Jørgen has worked with a wide range of tasks within the energy and environment area such as energy planning and strategies, green growth, climate change, sustainability, the Kyoto mechanisms, the Nordic power market, renewable energy, energy efficiency, research and development, building regulations and investments in the energy sector.


From 2002 to 2010 Jørgen was director in the Nordic consultancy companies ECON and Poyry Management Consulting. Before that, Jørgen spent two years as special adviser for the former Danish Minister for Environment and Energy, Mr. Svend Auken and before that as adviser in several positions in the Danish Ministry for Energy. Jørgen has comprehensive experience from work within international organizations such as the United Nations, EU, IEA, the Nordic Council of Ministers and BASREC and he has an extensive national and international network.


Viesturs Celmins (VC)

Viesturs Celmiņš is a social anthropologist and explorer of urban development, large-scale buildings planning and strategic analysis. He has been a Fulbright Fellow at New School University in New York and ESRC Fellow at Cambridge University. He is doctoral student at Cambridge University and currently is conducting research on urban planning, as well as delivering lectures at University of Latvia and Riga Stradins University. He has participated in the development of long-term development strategy "Latvia 2030", regional development planning and alternative scenario development in Latvia. His doctoral research concerns vast changes brought about by large infrastructure projects in Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan.


Dzineta Dimante (DD)

Dzineta Dimante is Associate Professor in the University of Latvia lecturing in Environmental Economics and Natural Resource Economics with great attention to sustainability issues. Dzineta’s research is devoted to sustainability and education for sustainable development issues. She tries out different pedagogic methods with emphasis on students own work and contribution. In 2012 Dzineta one semester spent as Fulbright scholar in Hamline University, Minnesota. She has experience in working in international team.


Aija van der Steina (AvdS)

Dr. Aija van der Steina is senior researcher of Scientific Institute of Economics and Management at University of Latvia and visiting lecturer of Monash University (Australia). In 2014 Aija van der Steina and Dr. Dzineta Dimante founded the Tourism and Sustainability Research Lab with the aim to strengthen the research on sustainability and sustainable development at the Faculty of Economics and Management, University of Latvia.

Aija has great experience in research fields related with tourism and sustainable development. She works in close collaboration with municipalities, state and business organisations, she is an adviser of National Tourism Organisation, expert for development of strategies for local municipalities. Ministry of Economics (Latvia) have awarded acknowledgement to Aija for her contribution in tourism research and strategy development in 2011.

In 2012, 2014 and 2015, Aija lectured and mentored master students at Monash University`s Field Schools “Contemporary Tourism and Development in Emerging Economies” in Vietnam and Fiji.


Guntars Ruskuls (GR)

Guntars Ruskuls is Deputy Head of the Board of Strategic Management and Head of the Strategic Planning Division of City Development Department of Riga City Council. Guntars has been the leader of preparing Sustainable development strategy of Riga City until 2030 and Development programme for 2014 -2020. He has participated also in several other development and territory planning projects. Guntars has received Master degree in Geography in 2000 from the University of Latvia, Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences (programme of regional development and planning) and is co-author of several scientific publications.


Company participants

Una Meiberga (UM)

Una Meiberga has received the Bachelor degree in Law (2001, University of Latvia) and the Master degree in Social sciences (2012, Riga Stradins University). Una works as cultural project manager since 2001. She has worked as fashion designer, conceptual artist, film director and producer, creative director of cinema, been active in several NGOs. Since 2011 is culture program director and content creator in Kalnciema Quarter where are managing exhibitions, concerts, theatre, performances, local markets, educational programs and other public events for wide audience. Un works also as a lecturer in Riga Stradins University. Skills: event planning, communication & networking, marketing, brand management, community building, place making, social research and projects, grant writing.


Marcis Rubenis (MR)

Marcis Rubenis is social entrepreneur and urban activist. Focus of his work has been engagement, participation and co-creation in relation to city making processes. Marcis is one of the founders of FREE RIGA, collective for creative and social temporary use of the vacant buildings in Riga, which is connecting owners of vacant property with initiatives that can maintain and reclaim it for the society. Another side of his work has been developing co-creation workshop methodologies, as well as online tools for citizen engagement and crowdsourcing.


Edgars Ivanovs (EI)

Edgars Ivanovs is the Developer of Riga Powerhouse, a real estate startup with an aim to create a global chain of Urban Powerhouses - branded coworking spaces for creative companies in revitalized industrial properties. Edgars has 12 years of experience with urban innovations and real estate sector. He has a Master's degree Of Business Administration and track record of formal and informal research. Edgars has been involved in public sector as an economic development advisor and has an experience in startup field. He has spent 2 years living in Spain where he worked as an urban innovation researcher at Citymart. 


Teaching methods
The class will be taught using a range of methods including lectures, workshops, seminars and presentations. Written and verbal feedback will be given for students to assimilate. Study visits in Riga and Copenhagen will examine regeneration programmes focused on both major redevelopment projects and interventions of a social and economic nature within city neighbourhoods. All study visits are compulsory parts of the class.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will provided in the following fashion:

1.) during office hours
2.) digitally
3.) during classroom discussions
Student workload
Lectures 60 hours
Preparations 40 hours
Site visits 25 hours
Field work, group work 40 hours
Written report 30 hours
Further Information


Participants are responsible for their own travel arrangements, including flights to and from Riga and accommodation. Each student will receive a student stipend at € 275, but will have to cover any additional costs. 

Expected literature

Essential reading:

Lewis Mumford, The Garden City Idea and Modern Planning, in Larice and Macdonald, The Urban Design Reader, 2006, Pages 43-53.


Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities,  "Foreword to the Modern Library Edition", "Introduction","The Generators of Diversity".  Pages xi-xviii, 5-34, 187-197.


Critique of Le Corbusier:  Lewis Mumford, "Yesterday's City of Tomorrow" in The Lewis Mumford Reader, Pages 184-200.


Kevin Lynch, The Image of the City, "The Image of the Environment", Pages 1-13; 46-49; 146-147.  The Lynch analysis is one of the methods to be used in the neighborhood study of Project I. 


Allan Jacobs, Looking at Cities, "Starting to Look", "Seeing Change", "Looking Back".  Pages 1-13; 99-107; 133-141.


Christopher Leinberger, “The Coming Revival of American Downtowns” in Lusk Review: The Future of Central Cities, Fall 1997, Pages 53-62.


Christopher Leinberger, “The Shape of Downtown: What America’s Downtowns Need Is Walkable Urbanism” in Urban Land, Nov/Dec 2004, P 69-75.


Sustaining Urban Excellence: Learning from the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation, 1998, Preface and Executive Summary, Pages vii to xi.


John Pastier, Case Study:  Pike Place Market Neighborhood, Seattle: Preservation of a “social ecology”in Sustaining Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation, 1998.


Anthony Downs, The Brookings Institution, "Metro Areas Can't Go On This Way" (Essay).


Anthony Downs, How Cities Are Growing: The Big Picture” in The Brookings Review, Brookings Institution, Fall 1998. Pages 8-12.


Matthew Kahn, Green Cities: Urban Growth and the Environment, “Introduction”, P 1-7 and “Achieving Global and Urban Sustainability”, Pages 130-137.


Hildebrand Frey, “Compact, Decentralized or What? The Sustainable City Debate”  in Designing the City: Toward a More Sustainable Urban Form.

Last updated on 18-12-2017