What is Core Project?

Core Project is a project that We SSI proactively promote in order to conceive and realize a society where life is valued and where everyone shines.

We target the project whose representative is a researcher in Osaka University and for adopted projects, we provide full support, such as subsidizing research expenses.

Now following 5 core projects are advancing research aimed at solving social issues from the perspectives of "protecting", "nurturing" and "bonding" life.

What is Joint Project?

Joint project is a project that We SSI support in order to conceive and realize a society where life is valued and where everyone shines.

We target the project that researchers in Osaka University participate as members and for adopted projects, we support its symposiums and provide information.

Now following 9 joint projects are advancing research and we are providing supports for holding salons.

Core Project

Development of Educational Curricula and Programs for Next-generation citizens who can co-create public knowledge based on their own life experiences

OKABE Mika |Professor, Graduate School of Human Sciences

Our project aims to design and establish a new type of education and welfare network system in which all citizens in a society, including children and minorities, are actively involved as agencies, and then to promote their public and political participation.

To achieve these aims, it is necessary to reexamine and redefine the boundaries between existing categories or within existing systems that have long been used in the modern society, but are already dysfunctional today. These boundaries refer to social categories such as adult/child, man/woman, professional/amateur, western/non-western, normal/abnormal, and public/private, as well as concepts of individual, others, subject, family, nation-state, ethnicity etc. In addition, we have to reexamine and reconstruct official administrative systems, legal systems, academic systems, and school systems on which our modern society has been based. We now need to not only reexamine or redefine these boundaries but also redraw or eliminate them, and then to produce and promote various fruitful collaborations across/beyond them.

The most important factors required to realize these collaborations are the following two. One is to highly value the “words” that citizens, especially children and minorities, co-create to configure and express their own life experience, above/besides “Words” borrowed from authoritative sources such as school textbooks, official documents, or mass media. The other is to foster coming generations who can cultivate and refine their “words” into the public knowledge shared by citizens, which should improve and re-design our society. In this way, various social reforms can be promoted through the public and political participation of each citizen, without anyone left behind, even those who have up to now been excluded or marginalized from the existing society.

This project will make theoretical and some practical attempts to reexamine and redefine various boundaries in order to develop educational curricula and programs with such public knowledge configured and constituted by “words” co-created by citizens, as mentioned above.

Through these attempts, this project aims to enable all citizens

-to live their own life and culture with vitality

-to express their thoughts and ideas assertively and impartially

-to improve or reconstruct our society based on diversity, plurality, and equity, where the public knowledge should be configured and consist of “words” co-created by citizens and be highly valued as the public property in our society.

*In this project, “minorities” are those whose words and actions are likely to be regarded as ‘abnormal’ or ‘exceptional,’ which is the reason they often get special attention and are demanded to make excuse for the majority; in addition, sometimes they are marginalised or excluded. The important issue for inclusive education is not to integrate minorities into the majority.

* Intersectionality should be emphasized in inclusive education. This is a perspective where multiple attributes intersect to examine and improve the situations and structures of disparity, discrimination, and oppression in existing societies. For example, the social issue of gender disparity and discrimination in the Third World should be considered in intersection with the social issue of the North-South Problem in the international society (economic and political disparity between the First and Third Worlds).

This project includes the following activities:

Theoretical Approach:

-Reexamining and redefining categories and systems which have been established in modern society.

-Reexamining the center–periphery structures in modern society (keeping in mind the intersectionality)

-Setting up a theory that enables citizens, including children and minorities, to co-create “words”

Practical Approach:

-Shonai Sakura School action research

-Career education research group for high schools

-Research group for evening junior high schools

-Action research on drama education

-SDGs education/Expo promotion group

Through these activities, this project aims to develop and disseminate educational curricula and programs for citizens to co-create “words.” It also aims to establish system networks and organize local groups for co-creating “words” through collaborations among citizens, especially children and minorities.

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Science and Humanity for Fostering a Super-aged Society that Respects Individual’s Views on Life and Death and Their Autonomy

YAMAKAWA Miyae | Associate Professor, Graduate School of Medicine

For these five and a half years, we have cultivated networks with neighboring local authorities, regional medical care, public health/welfare participants, and residents through the Osaka University’s cross-disciplinary research on dementia and the SSI’s core project “Creation of Super-Aging Society Encouraging Respect for Individual Views on the End-of-Life Good and Honorable Death and Supporting Personal Autonomy in Health Care.” In this project, we will further develop the activities and regional network to empower every person’s living in a super-aged society with diverse views on life and death.

In this project, with a special emphasis on every person’s living in a super-aged society, we will design schemes that enable every person to create their own lives through learning and feeling close to social networks. Through developing an approach that combines each person’s “humanity” and “science”, the project aims to organize an environment where individuals can design their own life as an “art” and obtain a solution to various problems caused by aging that is satisfactory to themselves.

“Autonomy,” as defined in this project, does not mean that one must do everything on one’s own, but rather that one can express one’s will to the end of one’s life as much as possible with using various resources in the community. This project will aim to foster a super-aged society that respects individual’s views on life and death and their autonomy.

Specific activities of this project include,

1.To visualize peaceful end-of-life care practices that enhance the dignity of the individual to the end of life in serviced housing for the elderly and to examine its educational methods

2.To establish outpatient nursing care for Mild Cognitive Impairment with using ICT

3.To assess spaces for community’s coexistence in public libraries

4.To create a methodology to activate local community in aged new towns

5.To extract ways to reduce medical and healthcare costs and promote autonomous health behaviors with using big data linking medical care receipts and specific health checkup data in Osaka Prefecture

6.To increase opportunities where the elderly can express themselves

7.To establish local medical and healthcare network

8.To hold philosophy café and forum by other sectors in neighboring municipalities (e.g. library)

9.To facilitate “bana game” and application that can foster individual’s views on life and death, thereby to visualize factors that affect human psychology

10.To organize data for above-mentioned data science and to actively promote collaboration with companies if necessary

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Co-creation base of resource recycling that aims for zero plastic waste in Osaka Bay

UYAMA Hiroshi |Professor, Graduate School of Engineering

This project aims to create a society in which the amount of plastic waste along the coast of Osaka Bay is visibly reduced, and where citizens take the lead in tackling the problem of plastic waste. Since Osaka Bay is a closed ocean, it is a perfect research target to deal with marine plastic issues. In this project, we will create a place where various stakeholders can work together to extract issues in a back-casting manner and put them into practice.

Through tackling to bring back Osaka Bay, where there is no garbage, on a societal level, we will create a system in which not only citizens but also companies in charge of technology work together with excitement.

In order to create a circular and ecological sphere centered on garbage in the Osaka Bay basin, we aim to reduce marine plastic waste through regional co-creation based on the empathy and understanding of following three keywords; technology, policy and community.

In addition, we will build a system to eliminate plastic waste that has been released into the ocean as a social issue. Furthermore, we will create a scheme in which plastic waste companies support initiatives in which volunteers can actively participate and revitalize the community through plastic waste collection. Moreover, we will develop new plastic recycling technology, biomass plastic product molding technology and marine biodegradable plastic technology that do not emit waste into the environment by perfect resource circulation which can archive zero emissions.

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Nuturing children and future with local community:
Practice and theory of the co-creation network

UWASU Michinori |Professor, Graduate School of Economics

To realize a society where no one is left behind and where life shines, within local communities, it is essential to build a co-creation network where various local stakeholders work together on envisioning and solving issues. This project aims to advance practical efforts of co-creation networks centered around community, children, and the future, and from these experiences and insights, to develop a theory of co-creation networks.

In this project's activities, the practice of the "Osaka Prefecture Children's Cafeteria and Local Government Liaison Council," involving administrative officials of Osaka Prefecture, intermediaries such as operators of children's cafeterias (places for children), and corporations, serves as a pillar. Children's cafeterias have rapidly increased nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been reported from various quarters that not only beneficiaries but also supporters find mutual empathy through interaction in children's cafeterias, and many local governments and related parties are seen to support the establishment and operation of children's cafeterias. Children's cafeterias and places for children can be spaces where anyone in the community can participate and shine, and they can serve as core infrastructure for the realization of a society that cherishes life and where each individual shines. To achieve this, constructing a network where local stakeholders can collaborate, cooperate, and co-create is key.

Thus far, in collaboration with intermediate support organizations for children such as "Musubie," this project has hosted liaison meetings involving local government departments, social welfare councils, intermediate support organizations, and children's cafeteria operators in Osaka Prefecture to create spaces for dialogue and form networks. In these spaces for dialogue, core organizations will be identified to enrich and expand the network, aiming for the theorization of "co-creation networks."

Specifically, while exploring the function, role, and sustainability of the liaison council as a "co-creation network," we will proceed with actual research to form regional visions and identify and seek solutions to challenges.

The structure of the co-creation network envisioned by this project consists of the Osaka Prefecture Children's Cafeteria Local Government Liaison Council and universities, as shown in the diagram above. Here, information and voices from the field of policy and support are shared, dialogues about the community vision are conducted, and framing of issues and exploration of potential solutions are undertaken. Moreover, the information and insights accumulated here will be shared with stakeholders in various regions of the prefecture. At universities, not only does the liaison council play a role, but administrative offices also coordinate the participation of researchers and students, serving research and investigation functions. Through mutual cooperation, the aim is to facilitate the sharing of information, planning of research for vision realization and problem-solving, and the promotion of manpower, information, and resource exchange.

Furthermore, this project will build a theory of co-creation networks, referencing discourses and practices in transdisciplinary research, action research, and future design, based on the structure and outcomes of the stakeholders' co-creation network with keywords such as community and children. Additionally, academic outcomes and practical efforts will be actively communicated to society, advancing research that leads to policy suggestions and the discovery of new research themes.

Already, in the liaison council and academic meetings at universities, research topics have been identified, such as 1) the impact of involvement in children's cafeterias on wellbeing, 2) methods to visualize children's voices, and 3) ways to achieve community inclusion (e.g., participation of elderly males) through children's places. Through addressing these research and practical issues, this project aims to form a model co-creation network for communities nationwide.

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Realization of an empathetic economy through the promotion of stakeholder-ESG management, ethical consumption and sustainable procurement

ITO Takeshi |Professor, SSI

Currently, many companies have already started to ensure and manage that the materials they procure are made appropriately and the working environments at their suppliers are adequate. The term "CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) procurement" has become commonly heard.

Thirty years have passed since the concept of "Sustainable Development" was proposed in 1987, and during this time, a considerable amount of effort and time has been invested. In 1994, the concept of the "Triple Bottom Line," encompassing environment, society, and economy, was advocated, promoting voluntary CSR actions by companies. Furthermore, investors have increasingly prioritized ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance), leading many companies to disclose ESG information through integrated reports, demonstrating their actions and outcomes to stakeholders and engaging in dialogue.

Regarding consumers, there has been a long history of movements towards "ethical consumption," which aims to purchase good products and services from good companies that benefit society. From decades ago, there have been consumer movements for ensuring health and safety, preventing pollution, and reducing environmental impact, the publication of "Consumer Reports" which provides independent comparisons of a wide range of products and services, and the establishment of certifications like "Fair Trade" that ensure continuous purchase of raw materials and products from developing countries at fair prices, and "Rainforest Alliance" certification, indicating products are produced using methods that strengthen the three pillars of sustainability (social, economic, environmental).

Now, with the evolution of mobile devices and social media, consumers have the potential to obtain information about the products and services offered by companies, sometimes even equivalent to the companies themselves, to understand whether businesses are conducting honest operations and employing workers in good working environments, enabling informed purchasing and usage decisions.

If every consumer can discern and purchase/use good products from good companies, it will enrich the people working honestly in those companies and, in turn, enrich themselves.

As Adam Smith observed, many people are equipped with the capacity for empathy, putting themselves in others' positions. The time has come when, based on mutual empathy, companies create products from the perspective of consumers, and consumers purchase and use products with knowledge of the companies' actions, creating a market economy and society that are rich both economically and humanly. The main actors in realizing this society are companies and consumers who care about society.

Against this background, we will undertake initiatives to realize an "Empathy Economy through the Promotion of Stakeholder-ESG Management and Ethical Consumption & Sustainable Procurement." The objective, as the title suggests, is to promote "Stakeholder-ESG Management" on the corporate side and "Ethical Consumption & Sustainable Procurement" as the core. This requires behavioral changes on both the corporate side and the procurement/consumption side, and we will proceed to promote these.

On the corporate side, we will spread good practices of stakeholder management, purpose-driven management, and ESG management orientation, such as those of the Kurumaza no Kai (Roundtable) members, across industries and companies. Specifically, we will share stakeholder-oriented issues that emerged from the Kurumaza no Kai, aim to solve problems related to ethical and sustainable consumption and procurement, energy, environment, labor, etc., and consider spreading stakeholder, purpose, and ESG management orientation to many non-listed companies, including SMEs, not just listed companies.

On the consumption and procurement side, we will advance initiatives to encourage ethical and sustainable actions by garnering empathy for the companies' efforts. Specifically, this includes developing ethical and sustainable procurement and consumption tools, developing tools for online collection of company information, and planning for the selection and promotion of usage industries, fields, and regions.

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Joint Project

Osaka University and the local community co-create biodiversity conservation

FURUYA Hidetaka| Professor, Graduate School of Science
YOSHIOKA Satoshi| Associate Professor, Campus Sustainability Office

Osaka University has three campuses, Toyonaka, Suita and Minoh in the Senri Hills and its natural environment has become a valuable green space remaining in the city over the years since its establishment.

For example, the area on the Toyonaka campus around Mt. Machikane is home to rare plants in Toyonaka City and new species of insects and it is specified as a conservation area.

According to the survey conducted by this project in 2019, the campus has a habitat for Himebotaru (Hotaria parvula), a near-threatened species listed in the Osaka Prefecture Red List 2014 and Nakayama Pond has a habitat for ShimahireYoshinobori (Rhinogobius sp. BF), a near-endangered species listed in both the Ministry of the Environment Red List 2015 and the Osaka Prefecture Red List 2014.

In this project, we will work for biodiversity conservation and education in an integrated manner through creating a base for aware of valuable natural environment with students, faculty and staff and the local community. In order to keep it in terms of financial resources, we also work on corporate CSR activities from the perspective of the SDGs and obtaining subsidies from various organizations. In addition, we will link it to related research in the university.

By establishing a long-term ecosystem for disaster prevention and crime prevention in cooperation with local residents through maintenance for the environmental conservation, we can solve social issues by co-creation between the university and society and the results can be achieved in various ways such as environmental reports in the future.

In 2008 and 2009, "Flowers Blooming on Campus" in Suita and Toyonaka editions (Osaka University Press) were published and introduced various vegetation on the campus. Flowers in the Minoh Campus has only been surveyed, but the survey results are stored in the database of the General Science Museum.

The realization of a low-carbon society, a recycling-oriented society and a society in harmony with nature are the necessary to achieve a sustainable society.

As the activity for conserving biodiversity to sustain a society in harmony with nature, the Sustainable Campus Office has been aware of the importance of nature conservation and biodiversity education on campus and it has been maintained while formulating and operating the “Osaka University Green Framework Plan (revised in 2018)”.

In terms of social Co-creation, education and research in the university, we will take action on biodiversity conservation by working on the conservation of organisms that urgently need protection on campus, creating a forum for dialogue among the government, citizens and the university and acquiring funding for the activities.

In Toyonaka City, the preservation of large green areas is a pending issue and the green basic plan for Toyonaka City, which is an individual plan, explicitly mentions Osaka University (Mt. Machikane) and indicates the necessity of its preservation. Then the area in the university was designated as a Conservation-Conscious Area. This issue in Toyonaka City is not limited to Mt. Machikane and it is also necessary to conserve the green space around the campus while making good use of the space so that students, faculty and staff can enjoy their activities.

The activities of the "Take no Kai", which the Sustainable Campus Office has continued in collaboration with the "Take no Kai Collaboration" in Shibahara Town, can be expected to produce results even at the Suita Campus, where bamboo flourishes.

We have two major goals for the time being. First one is to understand the biodiversity in the university and local communities through research and educational activities working together with students, faculty and staff, local residents and various groups in the community. The other one is to create a network and a loose structure in order to improve the sustainability of the local community while increasing the number of friends by enjoying activities of protecting and nurturing biodiversity with students, faculty and staff, local residents and various groups in the community.

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Creating a Platform of Learning Design toward a Multicultural Local Community

OH Song | Directer, Tabunka Flat Specified Nonprofit Corporation
HOMMA Naho | Professor, Center for the Study of Co*Design
ENOI Yukari | Professor, Center for Mirai Kyoso, Graduate School of Human Sciences

Osaka's Ikuno Ward has a large population of Zainichi Koreans living in Japan, and the largest Korean town in Japan is located in Tsuruhashi. In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the number of so-called "newcomers" such as those from Vietnam, and one in five of the ward's residents are foreign nationals, the highest percentage (21%) of any urban area in Japan, with people from 66 countries and regions. Moreover, many households in Ikuno Ward have financial difficulties, and the schooling support rate is more than double the national rate. There is an urgent need to establish a system to stabilize the education and living conditions of families with diverse cultural backgrounds, including children with foreign roots.

In June 2019, a citizen-led platform was launched in Ikuno Ward to tackle these issues by building a comprehensive and multifaceted support base with diversity at the heart of community development. Under the mission of the SDGs "No one left behind," the project is a collaboration of various actors such as NPOs, citizens, government, companies, and universities, and consists of three projects: "Creation of a center," "multicultural events planning" and "surveys and proposals." In the "Creation of a Center" project, preparations are underway to establish a multicultural center in response to the draft plan for utilizing the former elementary school site.

Our project aims to work together with the local community to create the center for the local multicultural community in Ikuno. For example, we will promote the design of the learning environment through collaborative learning projects and program development, community building, and the launch of an educational consortium.

Symbiosis is the body and time that has always-already been lived by us. Ikuno – its history and its climate – in which symbiosis has been nurtured in various ways is the soil where the campus of learning truly takes root as a horizon of the unique backgrounds of each individual. In an age where rationalization and competition divide us, we must restore the form of education that should be ours, with children living in the present, not in the future. For this purpose, we will engage in dialogue and creative activities across various genres to loosen the power that hangs over us and to reweave our knowledge with the threads of "connection" that will be entwined by making us aware of our "differences."

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Building a system based on behavioral science
for health and medical care

HIRAI Kei | Associate Professor, Graduate School of Human Sciences

Now medical expense is increasing in Japan with aging population and effective health policy is needed to save social security cost. When we think of suppressing the medical expense, we need to take specific medical problems in Japan into consideration, for example, suspension of strong recommendation about HPV vaccine because of side reaction occurred only in Japan, active terminal care like anti-cancer therapy, lack of donor organs, medical treatment for HIV-positive person, decision making problem of dementia and so on.

Behind these problems, in medical field, they have placed importance on informed consent with an ideal that patients can make rational decisions when doctors give medical information they want. However, patients are not reasonable decision-making entities so they sometimes can’t make good communication with doctors and it results irrational decisions. In order to prevent it, manuals and systems are needed to support doctor and patient to lead reasonable decision.

In behavioral economics, a method of economic analysis that applies psychological insights into human behavior, they have discussed supporting decision-making and communication for real patients and carried them out, such as Libertarian Paternalism. In addition, in cultural anthropology, they have analyzed the cultural effect about conception of life, death and family unique to Japan.

In this project, we propose a construction of social system for making better decision and changing to better behavior about health and medical care through active discussion based on the behavioral science such as economics, psychology and cultural anthropology among researchers involved in public health, psychiatry, clinical medicine and the above science sectors.

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Green Innovation Project for Carbon Neutrality

SHIMODA Yoshiyuki | Professor, Graduate School of Engineering
SHINDO Kazuhiko | Specially Appointed Professor / Deputy Director, Expo 2025 Japan Promotion Office, Osaka University

In 1992, the "Earth Summit" was held in Rio de Janeiro, marking the first global discussion on climate change. This summit led to the creation of the "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" (UNFCCC), a significant framework for addressing global warming that continues to this day. In 1997, COP3 (the 3rd Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC) in Kyoto resulted in the adoption of the "Kyoto Protocol." In 2015, the "Paris Agreement" was adopted, setting climate action goals for the world beyond 2020, and the international community has since aimed for "decarbonization."

However, there are voices claiming that achieving "net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050" is almost impossible. As a result, the focus has shifted towards achieving "carbon neutrality," where the goal is to balance emissions to achieve a net-zero effect. As we approach the target year for the SDGs in 2030 and look beyond to the post-SDGs era and the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, it is time to seriously consider energy and global warming.

Information related to global warming (efforts, technologies, services, etc.) is scattered across the internet, but articles rarely present both the advantages and disadvantages in a balanced manner. This often results in high uncertainty as people may accept information without verification or personal observation.

The Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan also known as the "EXPO for SDGs" (Green Expo), aims to control greenhouse gas emissions, efficiently use resources, and conserve and restore the natural environment and ecosystems within the expo site. Measures will be taken from the perspectives of energy (future society showcase), site development, operation, and visitors (EXPO Green Challenge). However, specific details are yet to be disclosed as of September 2023, with decisions to be announced progressively.

Therefore, this project aims to comprehensively and directly investigate domestic and international information related to global warming, including the Osaka-Kansai Expo. The goal is not only to acquire new insights and knowledge but also to identify research and development themes and compile recommendations (hypotheses) for achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. For example, the following activities are planned:

- Visiting wind and solar power facilities on Eco Island Miyakojima in Okinawa Prefecture to understand the realities by exchanging opinions with operating companies, local governments, and, if necessary, residents.
- Interning with the Sustainability Department of the Expo Association to calculate CO2 emissions and waste amounts within the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan site.
- Conducting interviews with pavilion exhibitors, companies involved in demonstration projects, and Expo Association representatives about the Green Expo measures being implemented inside and outside the expo site, starting before the event period.

These activities are not exhaustive, but we aim to compile and disseminate the results of such efforts, linking them to recommendations for the Osaka-Kansai Expo "Inochi Forum."

Furthermore, we plan to develop these recommendations into demonstration experiments and social implementation efforts in collaboration with interested companies and universities. By focusing on these processes, which will be led primarily by young people, we hope to present a model for continuous efforts beyond 2030 and ultimately contribute to the development of future leaders.

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Proposing future society where everyone can value lives centering on "New disaster prevention"

KITA Michihiro | Professor, Graduate School of Engineering

This project is launched to link the activities of the Institute for Leading Interdisciplinary Research Initiatives: Future Society Research Division (Department Chair: Prof. Takuo Dome) that values life centered on "new disaster prevention" to the philosophy of SSI. The purpose of the project is to construct an academic system of "new disaster prevention" to embody a future society that values life (“the world of life”) and try to adapt the system to social practice.

The whole of the “world of life” is established through the close cooperation and integration of the “real world” which consists of “world of nature and ecosystems”, “physical world” and “world of social relations” and the “mental world”.

However, the social and spatial systems built after the world war became huge and rigid then the relationships between layers in the "real world" and the relationship between the "real world" and the "mental world" were separated.

In this project, from the perspective of "new disaster prevention", we will reconnect the "real world" and "mental world" while forming a "virtual world" and create a revival of "world of life" in which all layers are organically connected.

1. A workshop for envisioning a future society that values life

Centered on a researcher with a wide range of knowledge in our university, we discuss to create an agenda for a future society that values life, based on the provision of topics and the exchange of ideas and realize it. In 2023, we will promote the participation of people outside our university.

2. Public workshops in municipalities

Our project members visit local governments to conduct inspections and workshops. Both parties will make presentations, share issues and exchange ideas on policy formation, etc. for the formation of a future society that values life and build strong collaboration.

3. Construction and implementation of a co-creation field in the Osaka Bay Area

We will build a co-creation field for regional and town planning in the Osaka Bay Area and conduct research and practical activities for the EXPO 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan to have an impact on the city and region through such as PBL (Project Based Learning) type classes for students.

4. Participation in salons, symposiums, etc. by other organizations

We participate in symposiums, seminars and study groups hosted by other organizations then deepen and expand the concepts of "new disaster prevention" and "future society “that values life while promoting the construction of networks for research and practice.

5. Publication/Public Relations

We will publish general books and research books and disseminate the results of our efforts to the world through our website and SNS.

6. Suggestions for the EXPO 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan “Inochi Forum”

We will summarize the above results and make a proposal to the “Inochi Forum” at the EXPO 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan.

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Construction of a Disaster Prevention / Watching System
with Community Resources and Information Technology

INABA Keishin | Professor, Graduate School of Human Sciences

In a modern society, characterized by a number of factors such as a declining birthrate, depopulation of rural areas, frequent disasters, and other problems (e.g., crime) involving the elderly and children, it is imperative to build a society that is resilient to emergency situations while also constructing a watching/support system for periods of calm.

This project aims to develop independent electronic communications networks for regional communities by connecting residents’ associations and regional resources, such as shrines, temples, and churches, as well as elementary and junior high schools nationwide. Additionally, we intend to utilize and develop information technology to respond to: (1) natural disasters, (2) incidents involving wandering elderly people with dementia and child kidnappings, and (3) harmful animals, such as monkeys, bears, wild boars, and crows.

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Creating a model for sustainable urban society
based on the field study of informal settlements in Africa

KITA Michihiro | Professor, Graduate School of Engineering

Improvement of slums, which constitute settlements that have irregular land tenure, poor housing conditions and inadequate basic infrastructure services such as water and sanitation, has been a global issue since the 1960s. Developing countries in Africa, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Latin America continue to face serious challenges in relation to the pervasiveness and proliferation of slums.

Conventional methods such as evictions and relocations, sites and services, public housing, and redevelopment have not provided permanent solutions to the challenge of slums. In view of this, we hypothesized that slum improvement requires holistic approaches that include the design and rebuilding of social and economic systems that can enhance the capacity of slum residents to engage, initiate, and manage the process of developing their living environment in collaboration with civil society and local government.

Our project is geographically situated in Accra, the capital of Ghana in the West Africa sub-region. For this project, we organized a cross-sectional project team consisting of cultural anthropologists including Professor Eisei Kurimoto and members specializing in geography, international public policy, linguistics, urban planning, and environmental energy. Accra is considered as a joint research and implementation field. For the purposes of this project, members conduct research activities in multiple fields. These survey activities are mutually reinforced and harmonized to support complementarities. By doing so, we examine hypotheses and find common solutions to complex socio-spatial and economic problems.

There are about 78 officially identified slum communities in Accra. These 78 slum communities are home to approximately 38.4% of the population of Accra. Although the government has in recent years promulgated a promising urban policy action plan and urban housing policy, experimental projects at the local level are seemingly rare or non-existence. Thus, several slum areas are constantly faced with severe challenges as such poverty, unemployment, overcrowded housing, poor sanitation and water supply, disasters (especially floods and fires), and disease outbreaks (e.g. cholera).

However, some slum communities possess organized social systems that support self-management and community-based improvement in conditions. A typical case is the indigenous quarter in La Dadekotopon district of Accra. Our previous survey revealed that the "La" area has a good self-sustaining system based on traditional system of social organization and community management. In this area, we are deciphering the socio-spatial structure, and the system of living environment management.

We plan to continue to work with the residents of community to devise a collaborative and sustainable self-management model for community improvement. We hope to assist the community utilize existing potentials to gradually evolve into a sustainable urban socio-spatial model than can be scaled-up into other slum communities in city and region. Thus, we hope to adapt this social model to other areas based on their specific conditions and attributes.

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A Development of SDGs Open Innovation Platform
towards Discovering Social Issues and Exploring Solutions

KAWAKUBO Shun | Professor, Hosei University
MATSUI Takanori | Professor, Graduate School of Engineering

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, efforts to achieve the SDGs have been promoted worldwide.

In Japan, various guidelines and plans such as "SDGs Implementation Guidelines" and "SDGs Action Plan" have been presented and various initiatives are being promoted under industry-government-academia-civil collaboration.

Efforts by local governments are essential to promote the SDGs nationwide and the importance of promoting regional revitalization driven by the SDGs and building a resilient cyclical and symbiotic society is shown. As we have entered the "Decade of Action" to achieve the SDGs, there is a need to further expand our efforts.

Based on the above background, the representatives of the project proposed formulating and promoting "local SDGs" and have been working on their dissemination. Currently, as a project of the Ministry of the Environment, the Environmental Research General Promotion Fund Research Topic 1-2104 “Research on Solving Regional Issues by Promoting Local SDGs” is being promoted. The main mission of this project is to create a knowledge base in the digital space to support all stakeholders in industry, government, academia and citizens to expand “Think globally, act locally”.

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Multifaceted Investigation for Future Society Design
“Shape New World Project”

SAKUMA Hiroshi |Specially Appointed Researcher, SSI
ITO Takeshi |Professor, SSI

“Shape New World Project” aims to actively and reasonably envision the future society that will arrive in 2045. We believe that only by concretely imagining a future where science, technology and social systems undergo transformation can we create such a future. Advancing research and development solely in the direction of forecasts is like a journey without a compass or map and sometimes carries the risk of leading to a dystopia, as depicted in "Brave New World." By envisioning a bold and desirable future and creating a detailed roadmap through research and investigation, we can shape the future.

The results of this research study are scheduled to be presented through the "Shape New World Initiative" during the Theme Week of the Expo 2025 Osaka, Kansai, Japan in eight days of sessions dedicated to Next Generation and Inclusion. The research themes of this study correspond to the theme divisions of the Theme Week, covering eight topics: The Future of Earth and Biodiversity, Health and Well-being, Peace, Human Security and Dignity, Necessities of Life: Food, Clothing and Shelter, Learning and Playing, Co-creating Cultures for the Future, The Future of Community and Mobility and SDGs+Beyond - Future Society for Life. We are advancing our research through literature reviews, including books, papers, and trend analyses, as well as interviews and hearings with experts and citizen-participatory workshops.

We recognize that small events have caused butterfly effects throughout history. However, we might be overlooking the perspective of how much our individual actions can impact the future. Activities that look ahead with a long-term perspective are gaining attention under the term "long-termism." We hope that this research study will serve as a catalyst for creating the future so that we can be good ancestors in the eyes of future generations.

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