Formation of a transdisciplinary community of practice in rural areas, with an interactive database of co-created knowledge: A case study in Noto, Japan

Main Article Content

Kenji Kitamura
Yasuko Kinoshita
Koji Ito
Sakiko Kawabe
Hideki Kobayashi
Haruka Naya
Hiroaki Sugimori
Yoshihiro Takata
Manabu Teraguchi
Chiharu Baba


Many rural areas suffer from severe depopulation, and the absence of a university is one reason for outmigration. Where research and education are valued, however, such rural areas can attract scholars and students visiting from universities and other external institutions. Scholarly outputs of research, such as research articles and project reports, particularly those from community-based research (CBR), can themselves become an asset for use by local communities. We consider that CBR can contribute to asset-based community development (ABCD) when a transdisciplinary community of practice (TDCOP) emerges and drives the processes of collaborative creation and use of the knowledge. A particularly critical mechanism, which is currently lacking, is to allow the local community to collect knowledge outputs and make them easily available to interested actors within and outside of the community. We assume that a core tool in this mechanism is an interactive database. It can be equipped with a user interface, allowing enjoyable and active searches, and possibly a mechanism by which users themselves can contribute to gradual development of the database. We formed a study group of researchers and practitioners to conduct a case study in the Noto region of Japan. We identified the existing assets in Noto, including the knowledge created through CBR, and then collected and shared our own experiences and practices, as well as lessons learned from other regions in Japan, to explore the principles of designing a database. A CBR database should not only be a static inventory of past research, but also capable of facilitating new cycles of knowledge co-creation. With a comprehensive and easily accessible inventory of knowledge in place, we conclude that there is high potential in enabling CBR itself to be an asset, which can help achieve ABCD in rural communities.

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Practice-based articles (Non-refereed)


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