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2018/2019  KAN-CCBLI3002U  Urban Challenges as Innovation Drivers

English Title
Urban Challenges as Innovation Drivers

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Course instructor - Luise Noring, Assistant Professor, Copenhagen Business School, lno.msc@cbs.dk
    Sven Bislev - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
In case of any academic questions related to the course, please contact the course instructor or ISUP academic director, Sven Bislev at sb.msc@cbs.dk.
Main academic disciplines
  • Corporate governance
  • CSR and sustainability
  • Innovation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 23/01/2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Identify and analyse relevant urban problems and challenges in relation to one of the topics under the overall theme;
  • Independently design and conduct a fieldwork-driven project in a hands-on, multi-sited case study;
  • 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;
  • Present recommendations of how to include urban nature-based solutions in the urban development in order to diminish pollution, congestion and improve livability;
  • Identify an innovative sustainable solution and show the commercial aspects using the business model canvas
Course prerequisites
The programme targets business and social sciences students at master level across different disciplines.
Urban Challenges as Innovation Drivers:
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, Ordinary exam: Home Assignment: 24 April - 7 June 2019. Please note that exam will start on the first teaching day and will run in parallel with the course (teaching period 25 April - 15 May 2019).
Retake exam: Home Assignment: 72-hour home assignment: 29 July - 1 August 2019
3rd attempt (2nd retake) exam: 72-hour home assignment: 8-11 October 2019
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Retake exam: 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
Exam form for 3rd attempt (2nd retake): 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
Course content and structure

Cities are considered to be the melting pots of modern society - the proximity and density of people and organisations tend to foster innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship. One of the biggest challenges in the 21st century is to plan urbanised areas and to design public policies in such a manner that they facilitate thriving businesses, organisations and people, while addressing global environmental and social issues. At the same time numerous companies cater to the growing demands of urban citizens and local city governments in everything from fast moving consumer goods to housing, infrastructure and energy. One of the biggest challenges is to balance the many public and private expectations on urban space, - without losing sight of urban sustainability. Thus, the programme takes a citywide and regional development perspective on public, private, and non-profit sector actions that shape solutions to the most pressing issues of today’s societies.

The Urban Challenge Course will focus on a series of case studies. Taking Copenhagen as a starting case, the course will be supplemented by heavily drawing on international examples as a foundation for discussion and broaden perspectives. Students will identify urban challenges in each case study area. Based on this initial analysis of urban challenges they will identify and develop sustainable public, private and non-profit sector solutions. The solutions may include for instance public policy changes, introduction of new standards, new business opportunities, infrastructure projects or non-profit advocacy campaigns.
The course aims at fostering sustainable innovation and knowledge on how to create more sustainable cities by drawing on the cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural make-up of the group. Theoretically, the course will focus on sustainable business model theory, partnership theory, social movement theory and urban planning. Methodologically, the course will draw on qualitative methods and design thinking techniques. 


Teaching days and hours: Mondays and Wednesdays, from 9am-3pm.  

Preliminary assignment: Read material, which will be provided ahead of the intro day to you by the faculty.

Class 1: April 24th - Introduction to course and preparation for conference the following day

Class 2: April 25th - Participation in conference (free) and case study presentations

Class 3: April 29th - Introduction to nature-based solutions and business model canvassing
Challenges in case areas 

Class 4: May 1st - Finance and governance in cities

Class 5: May 6th - Midterm presentations

Class 6: May 8th - Problem solving & ideation

Class 7: May 13th - Learn to pitch and present your challenge and solution

Class 8:  May 15th - Final presentations

Description of the teaching methods
This course is a collaboration among renowned universities (CBS, Aalto University, HCU, La Sapienza, University of Edinburgh Business School and University of Latvia) and strategic businesses, and will take place during an intensive three-week programme. Students will work together in mixed study groups across cultures and disciplinary backgrounds. These groups will be created by the faculty. The course will have an introduction day on April 24th followed by a kick-off day with an international conference in Copenhagen on April 25th 2019. Finally, the lectures will start on April 29th 2019. In the weeks before the kick-off of the program, students will be asked to prepare themselves for the course through assigned readings and videos (methodology, theory, and context).

The programme is structured through online and offline lectures, “company” visits, fieldwork, group work, and project preparation and presentation. Participants are expected to take part in all planned activities and help make the course a great experience for everyone involved, academically as well as culturally.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students have a midterm presentation after the first week presenting the urban challenges they have identified in selected urban areas.
Final presentations on the last day of the course, where the students present challenge and solution for their specific urban areas.
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


Course timetable and Exam schedules are available on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams


We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams end February 2019 at the latest.


Please read more about the course on http://www.urbanchallengealliance.com/



Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


Bridges, W. (1986), Managing Spatial Transition. Organizational Dynamics 15(1), 24-33.

Bulkeley, H., Betsill, M. (2005), Rethinking sustainable cities: Multi-level governance and the 'urban' politics of climate change. Environmental Politics 14, 42-63.

Frantzeskaki, N., Loorbach, D., Meadowcroft, J. (2012), Governing transitions to sustainability: transition management as a governance approach towards pursuing sustainability. International Journal of Sustainable Development 15, 19-36.

Fröhlich, J., Knieling, J. (2013), Conceptualizing Climate Change Governance. In: J.
Nevens, F., Frantzeskaki, N., Gorissen, L., Loorbach, D. (2012), Urban Transition Labs: co-creating transformative action for sustainable cities. Journal of Cleaner Production.

Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y., In Clark, T., & Smith, A. (2010). Business model generation: A handbook for visionaries, game changers, and challengers, pp. 12-44.


Additional relevant readings: 


IPCC - The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (2018). Global Warming of 1,5 °C. Retrieved on October 30, 2018 from http:/​/​report.ipcc.ch/​sr15/​pdf/​sr15_spm_final.pdf


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


EC (2015). Towards an EU research and innovation policy agenda for nature-based solutions & re-naturing cities. Final report of the Horizon 2020 expert group on 'Nature-based solutions and re-naturing cities'. https:/​/​publications.europa.eu/​en/​publication-detail/​-/​publication/​fb117980-d5aa-46df-8edc-af367cddc202

Last updated on 23/01/2019