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2018/2019  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 First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 15
Study board
Study Board for BSc and 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
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 21-02-2018

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Identify and analyse relevant problems and challenges in relation to one of the topics under the overall theme.
  • 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.
  • Apply, assess and compare critically the chosen methodologies, theories, and concepts in the case of urban gardening and farming.
  • Present their findings to faculty and key stakeholder/experts in order to gain valuable feedback.
  • Meet basic academic requirements for project writing, including level of written English and references.
Course prerequisites
THIS COURSE TAKES PLACE IN ROME AND COPENHAGEN. Preparations: Monday July 8th through Friday, July 20th (weeks 28 & 29) Readings etc.

The course will take place on the following dates:
- Rome, EuroSapienza at Sapienza University of Rome. Monday, July 23rd - Friday, August 3rd 2018 (weeks 30 & 31)

- Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School. Monday, August 20th - Friday, August 31st 2018 (weeks 34 & 35)

Please note that the exchanges in Rome and Copenhagen respectively are a full-time course. This means that we will begin the day around 9AM and end around 6PM.

Paper writing: September 3rd through September 14th

Please visit website for further information; www.urbanchallengealliance.com.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 2
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

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


The report will be based on the students’ ethnographically driven analysis of challenges and opportunities to urban farming and gardening and 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

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, exploring the multiple functions of urban agriculture. In particular, the economic, social and environmental functions. 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 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 centre on the four following overall challenges:

  • Community development

  • Business model and business model innovation

  • Circular economy thinking

  • The planning, management and governance of green space

  • Private and public interests



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 skills for addressing sustainability in an urban context

  • Strengthening qualitative methodological skills

  • To motivate innovation and entrepreneurship for urban sustainability

  • To facilitate the exchange and creation of knowledge within communities engaged in urban farming and gardening through mobility of students and teachers and cross-city comparison of aims, constraints and opportunities



Course content and structure:

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 cases of 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

  • Business models and business model innovation


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 Rome groups of 4-5 students will do a mid-way presentation of their preliminary results. The presentation will refer to the analysis of the case studies identified in the field visits. 


Terminating the two weeks exchange in Copenhagen, the groups are due to present their case-based project ideas to faculty at CBS (and local stakeholders to the possible extent). The 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.                                                                         


Course Structure:

This elective will proceed during a 8-10 weeks program including two weeks of exchange in Rome and two weeks of exchange in Copenhagen. Students will work together in mixed study groups across cultures and disciplinary backgrounds. These groups will be created by faculty ahead of the exchange. Students will receive the final reading list for the course on July 2nd. In the two weeks before the kick off of the exchange in Rome, students will be asked to prepare themselves for the Rome exchange through readings (methodology, theory, and context). In the two weeks before the exchange in Copenhagen, students will be asked to do the same.


The exchange will take place starting with two weeks in Rome and two weeks in Copenhagen. The stay in Rome and Copenhagen is structured through lectures, “field” 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. 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 will create a facebook group for students and strongly encourage students to help each other find affordable accommodation.



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

Description of the 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:


1. Food markets in metropolitan areas

  • 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 multiple functions of urban agriculture

  • Aerts, R. Dewaelheyns, V. Achten, W.M.J. (2016) Potential ecosystem services of urban agriculture: a review. PeerJ Preprints | https:/​/​doi.org/​10.7287/​peerj.preprints.2286v1 | CC BY 4.0 Open Access | rec: 13 Jul 2016, publ: 13 Jul 2016.

  • Barkley A., Barkley P.W. Principles of Agricultural Economics, Routledge, Abington, 2013.

  • FAO, Growing Greener Cities in Latin America and the Caribbean, An FAO report on urban and peri-urban agriculture in the region, 2014.< > (Open Access)

  • IAASTD, Towards Multifunctional Agriculture for Social, Environmental and Economic Sustainability, n.d.

  • Lohrberg, F. Lička, L. Scazzosi, L. Timpe, A eds. (2015) Urban Agriculture Europe. Berlin: Jovis. http:/​/​www.ideabooks.it/​wp-content/​uploads/​2016/​12/​Urban-Agriculture-Europe.pdf

  • Mok, H.F. Williamson, V.G. Grove, J.R. Burry, K. Barker, S.F. Hamilton, A.J. (2014) Strawberry fields forever? Urban agriculture in developed countries: a review. Agron. Sustain. Dev. (2014) 34:21–43 DOI 10.1007/​s13593-013-0156-7

  • Moon W. Conceptualizing Multifunctional Agriculture from a Global Perspective, Selected Paper prepared for presentation at the Southern Agricultural Economics Association Annual Meeting, Birmingham, AL, February 4-7, 2012.

  • Specht, K. Weith, T. Swoboda, K. et al. (2016) Socially acceptable urban agriculture businesses. Agron. Sustain. Dev. 36: 17. https:/​/​doi.org/​10.1007/​s13593-016-0355-0

  • Taylor Lovell S. Multifunctional Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Land Use Planning in the United States, Sustainability 2010, 2, 2499-2522; doi:10.3390/su2082499

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

  • 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.


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. Circular economy

  • Ellen Macarthur Foundation (2017) Cities in the Circular Economy: An Initial Exploration, https:/​/​www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/​publications/​cities-in-the-circular-economy-an-initial-exploration

  • COM(2015) 614 final. Closing the loop - An EU action plan for the Circular Economy. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. http:/​/​eur-lex.europa.eu/​resource.html?uri=cellar:8a8ef5e8-99a0-11e5-b3b7-01aa75ed71a1.0012.02/​DOC_1&format=PDF




  • Alkon, A.H. & Guthman, J. (2017). The New Food Activism: Opposition, Cooperation and Collective Action, Berkeley: UC Press.

  • Bocken, N.M.P.; Short, S.W.; Rana, P.; Evans, S. (2014) ‘A literature and practice review to develop sustainable business model archetypes’. In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 65: 42-56

  • Boons, F. and Lüdeke-Freund, F. (2013) ‘Business models for sustainable innovation: state-of-the-art and steps towards a research agenda’. In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 45: 9-19.

  • Bowen, F., Newenham-Kahindi, A. and Herremans, I. (2010) ‘When suits meet roots: the antecedents and consequences of community engagement strategy’. In: Journal of Business Ethics, Vol. 95(2): 297-318

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

  • Dewalt, K. M. and Dewalt, B. R. (2011) ‘What is participant observation?’ In: Participant
    Observation: A Guide for Field Workers, UK: AltaMira Press

  • Kelly. T., (2005). ‘Introduction’ and ‘The Anthropologist’. In: The 10 Faces of Innovation, New York: Doubleday.

  • Kurland, N.B. and McCaffrey, S.J. 2016. ‘Social Movement Organization Leaders and the Creation of Markets for “Local” Goods,’ Business and Society, Vol. 55, No. 7

  • Kvale, S. (2008) Doing Interviews, London: Sage

  • Madsbjerg, C. and Rasmussen, M. B. (2014) ‘Getting People Right’ and ‘Lego’. In: The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Business Problems, Boston: Harvard Business Review Press.

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

  • Parmar, B. L., Freeman, R. E., Harrison, J. S., Wicks, A. C., Purnell, L. and de Colle, S. (2010) ‘Stakeholder theory: the state of the art’. In: Academy of Management Annals, Vol. 4(1): 403-445

  • Tarrow, S. (2011)  "Introduction" and "Contentious Politics and Social Movements (Chapter 1)" in Power in Movement: Social Movements and Contentious Politics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp 1-34

  • Zott, C., Amit, R. and Massa, L. (2011) ‘The business model: recent developments and future research’. In: Journal of Management, Vol. 37(4): 1019-1042

Last updated on 21-02-2018