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 "connecting" 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 8 joint projects are advancing research and we are providing supports for holding salons.

Core Project

Developing Communicative Competencies for Social Problem Solving

YAMAZAKI Goro| Professor, Center for the Study of Co*Design

Most of the issues surrounding modern society arise from an intricate intertwining of various elements and contexts. Under highly complex and uncertain circumstances, the process of finding, identifying, and resolving issues requires broad expertise, oversight and generalization ability, and collaboration with diverse social actors. Therefore this project will develop communication skills in order to solve the highly-fragmented and complex social problems in the contemporary world. Through these activities, we will establish organic linkages among education, research and social practices, and create synergies by combining each achievement. Social issues do not always lead to a solution. For example, classic social issues such as discrimination, inequality and violence cannot be eradicated and resolved in the same sense as the eradication of smallpox.

In society, each issue is inseparably linked with others. As a result, it often happens that issues cannot be unified, solving one issue gives rise to another, or one solution may not be recognized as a solution from another perspective, and so forth. However, in a recursive situation where the real risk is doing nothing, an approach that does not try to resolve issues has no positive meaning; most of the time, it simply maintains the status quo.

While confronting these difficult situations related to the modern social structure and academic fields, this project promotes critical investigation in education, research and practice, and establishes a new platform for them. Project team members will focus on various social issues, in particular: population decline, the realization of a symbiotic society, and the changing forms of life under the impact of emerging science and technology. Each year, we will implement multiple projects in collaboration with various social actors. Through these activities, we will redefine the social implications of higher education, especially the humanities and social sciences, from the viewpoint of “communication”. The results of this project will be fed back to a wide range of practical sites, and will be used to build an education and research platform that is rooted in our daily lives.

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Societal Factors of Zoonotic infections: Chain of life between Human Beings and Creatures in Modernity

SUMIMURA Yoshinori| Associate Professor, Center for Global Initiatives

Most of the emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases that have been rising since the end of the 20th century are zoonotic infections. Pathogens of zoonotic diseases include viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasites, and proteins such as prions. The rapid emergence and re-emergence of these infectious diseases can be attributed to a combination of factors, such as the formation of industrial societies in which capital and science and technology have been linked in the modern era, changes in human society, changes in the relationship between human beings and nature, and phenomena that occurred simultaneously with these factors, for instance, global warming. The various social challenges caused by zoonotic infections include not only “mass killing” of livestock to prevent the spread of the virus and human infection and the resulting ethnical problems for food loss and animals, but also more fundamental problems caused by the asymmetrical severing of the chains between lives. Zoonotic infections also pose critical global issues, as the problem of multidrug-resistant bacteria caused by the nontherapeutic use of antibiotics in animals is predicted and warned to have a boomerang effect, making treatment of human infections more difficult and causing many deaths in the near future. While the asymmetry of lives between human beings and other creatures is increasing, there is no effective recognition to respect the chain of lives and biodiversity. In this project, we especially pay attention to avian influenza and drug-resistant bacteria as a virus and bacteria that cause zoonotic diseases. Then, we reconsider the asymmetric relationship between human beings and other creatures through focusing on meats as an important factor of the emergence and spread of zoonotic infections, especially in the manner of modern livestock production and consumption, based on the concept of Umwelt proposed by Jakob von Uexküll. Specifically, we will do the following.

1. Taking two zoonotic disease cases, we will conduct a comparative analysis on social factors of emergence and spread of these diseases between Japan and Vietnam, especially, their difference in regional characteristics, pathogens, and vector animals.

2. We will reconsider the infectious diseases from the perspective on Umwelt, which each creature uniquely constructs.

3. Using artificial intelligence technology, we will build a system for preventing livestock infectious diseases based on the understanding of Umwelt of other creatures through relativization of the visual-dependent “environment” of human.

4. We will make policy recommendations based on effective recognition of chain of lives and its sustainability, through reexamining the relationship between lives of human beings and other creatures with modern livestock production as its central subject.

Collaborative Researchers

On campus

Jun MIYAKE Graduate School of Engineering, Specially Appointed Professor

Kazuhito FUJIYAMA Professor, International Center for Biotechnology

Qinfu SI, Guest Professor, Center for Global Initiative

Miyako, IMAMURA, Doctor Student, Graduate School of Economics

Nobuhiko SARUKURA Professor,, Institute of Laser Engineering

Toshihiko SHIMIZU Associate Professor, Institute of Laser Engineering

Keito SHINOHARA Doctor Student, Graduate School of Engineering Division of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Engineering

Off campus

Kazumasa HIRATA Professor, School of Medicine, Wakayama Medical University

Shinji YAMASAKI Professor Department of Veterinary Science, Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Osaka Prefecture University

Tatsuya NAKAYAMA Associate Professor, Graduate School of Integrated Sciences for Life, Hiroshima University

TRAN Dai Lam, Director, Institute of Tropical Technology, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology

Nguyen Xuan Trach, Vice President and Professor, Vietnam National University of Agriculture

Collaborative Research Institutions General Incorporated Association, Northern Wind and Southern Cloud,

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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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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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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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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
Naho HOMMA| Professor, Center for the Study of Co*Design
Yukari Enoi| 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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Nurturing children and future with local community: Practice and theory of the co-creation network

UWASU Michinori | Professor, Graduate School of Economics

In order to realize a society where no one is left behind and a society where life shines, it is necessary to build a co-creation network in which various stakeholders in the community work together to formulate a vision and solve problems. In this project, we will proceed with practical efforts for co-creation networks with administrative officials such as local governments in Osaka Prefecture, intermediary supporters of children's cafeterias (children's places) such as operators and companies participating in the "Osaka Prefecture Children's Cafeteria Liaison Committee."

Children's cafeterias are rapidly increasing nationwide due to the COVID-19 crisis.At the Cafeteria, it has been reported that not only persons to be suppported but also supporters sympathized each other through interaction and many local governments and related parties also supported establishment and operation of the cafeteria. Both children's cafeterias and children's whereabouts are places where everyone in the community can participate and shine and can be a core-infrastructure to realize a society where life is valued and everyone shines.

In order to make it true, it is a key factor to build a network that allows local stakeholders to collaborate, cooperate and co-create.

We have provided a venue for dialogue to hold liaison meetings among local government departments, social welfare councils, intermediate support organizations and children's cafeteria operators in Osaka Prefecture with “Musubie,” an intermediate support organization for children.In this project, we aim to form a network for "co-creation" while selecting a core organization for this dialogue and promoting the construction of a liaison committee management system.Specifically, while exploring the functions and roles of the Liaison Committee as a "co-creation network" and the sustainability of its operation, we will proceed with the formation of a vision for the region, the identification of issues and the search for solutions.

The structure of the co-creation network envisioned by this project which consists of the Osaka Prefectural Children's Cafeteria Liaison Committee and the university, as shown in the diagram above.The Osaka Prefectural Children's Cafeteria Liaison Committee currently consists of four municipalities, four social welfare councils, three intermediary support organizations including the Children's Cafeteria and two private companies.At the Committee, we share information and voices from the front lines of the government’s policy and the organization’s support, engage in dialogue about regional visions, frame issues and explore potential solutions. Then the information and knowledge accumulated there will be shared with relevant parties in each region of the Osaka prefecture. At the university, it not only serves as a liaison committee, but also serves as a secretariat and investigative research coordinating the participation of researchers and university students.

In addition to coordinating the Liaison Committee, the university also coordinate the participation of researchers and university students as both secretariat of the Committee and researcher.By collaborating with each other, we will encourage sharing information, planning research for vision realization and problem-solving, exchange of manpower, information and goods.

Moreover, we will conduct a theory of co-creation based on the structure and results of the co-creation network of stakeholders, referring to discourses and practices in transdisciplinary research, action research and future design with two keywords; community and children.

Furthermore, we will actively disseminate these academic results and practical efforts to society and promote research that leads to policy proposals and discovery of new research issues.

Liaison committees and research groups at universities have already pointed 1) methods for visualizing children's voices, and 2) methods for realizing community inclusion (especially the participation of elderly men) through children's whereabouts as a research topic.

In this project, we would like to form a model co-creation network while tackling these research issues.

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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

Keishin INABA | 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

Michihiro KITA | 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

Shun Kawakubo | 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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