Rated 4 of 5.
Level of importance:
Rated 5 of 5.
Level of validity:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of completeness:
Rated 4 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
Rated 3 of 5.
|ScienceOpen disciplines:||Earth & Environmental sciences, Social & Behavioral Sciences|
|Keywords:||DRR including CCA, widening participation, participatory approaches, participation, Climate, Sustainable development, community-based DRR and CCA|
Title: Widening participation in community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in Japan
Authors: Kaori Kitagawa, Subhajyoti Samaddar
General assessment: Uniqueness and value of this study
As a researcher who has long experience in studying community-based participatory efforts particularly in Japan, how to strategically “improve participation” has been a keen concern of mine. Especially in Japan, how communities can better cope with disaster risk reduction combined with climate change adaptation is a challenging question. We need more integrative, transdisciplinary research. Therefore, I find this type of research very relevant and timely. This research intends to provide a valuable, challenging approach to transfer knowledge and experience from UK’s “widening participation” to Japan’s “community-based DRR.” I infer that “widening participation” is the approach the authors have chosen to rigorously discuss “improve participation,” and then apply to Japan’s “community-based DRR.
This paper concludes by discussing two broad overarching emphases that could be transferrable in widening participation beyond the context of Japan. The first is the idea of ‘lowering the hurdle’. The other emphasis is relational significance. ‘To be connected [tsunagaru]’ is probably the most frequently used term. the approaches of ‘lowering the hurdle’ and ‘people first’ These findings are considered very simple and rather easy to practice.
For the purpose of further clarifications, useful for the reviewer and the reader, let me propose the following frame of reference.
Frame of Reference Proposed for Clarifications
Based on my interpretation of this research which challenges us to draw on transdisciplinary, cross-cultural knowledge (and experience) transfer efforts, I have developed a frame of reference for clarifications. (see Table 1.)
Table 1 Intended challenges of Knowledge Transfer (as interpreted by Okada)
Widening participation (WP) in UK transfer to⇒ WP in Japan
B. Good practice but a barrier remains ⇒Good practice but a barrier remains
C. UK’s participatory model ⇒Japan’s participatory model
D. Democratic society ⇒Democratic society
E. Findings (Return to UK?) ⇔ Findings (transfer to other cases in Japan? )
Based on the above frame of reference, here are a list of questions and clrafications:
A-1 Please explain how different it is between “Widening Participation (originally) developed for higher education_at_university in UK,” and the one the authors have applied to Japanese DRR community practices?
A-2 The authors have applied “the notion of (UK’s) Widening Participation. (NUKWP, for short.)” They should elaborate on this. Is NUKWP no more than a concept or does this include policy guidelines, programs, practices or methodologies?
A-3 Is NUKWP associated with higher education at universities or more extended and generalized to other subjects such as community-participation?
A-4 Is NUKWP yet highly determined by UK contexts?
A-5 What kind of special and new thoughts are needed to apply it to Japanese DRR community practices?
B-1 Though not clearly mentioned in this manuscript, I have interpreted that NUKWP or the original UKWP (OKWP) starts with identifying good practices and proceed to examine their barriers for widening participation. The same goes for discussing Japan’s “community-based DRR. Is it correct to understand that the authors strategically selected case study areas with “good practices” as awarded by public sectors or recommended by researchers (who have been involved there.)
B-2 In the former studies on WP, are there important key concepts already developed to address good practices and identify gaps for further participation? Otherwise, have the authors found new knowledge to broaden WP through this study ? In this relation, let me note that the authors suggest this gap should be considered as a spectrum ranging from ‘core’ participants to ‘marginal’ participants and to ‘non-participants’, not as an either/or option (‘regular’ or ‘not participating’). In this spectrum, core participants promote the involvement of non-participants using various strategies, e.g. ‘everyday participation’, ‘participation through invitation’. Have previous studies already proposed to distinguish for instance, ‘core’ participants to ‘marginal’ participants and to ‘non-participants’, etc.? In the contrary, are these a new pieces of knowledge derived from this study?
C-1 I suspect that NUKWP or the original UKWP (OKWP) is characterized by
“Top-down/deliberation or coproduction approach”. In contrast, the Japanese DRR community practices you have adopted as case study models are characterized by
“Bottom-up/deliberation or coproduction approach”. Is it correct to understand that way?
C-2 In the above, I have borrowed the notion of “Top-down/deliberation or coproduction approach”. vs. “Bottom-up/deliberation or coproduction approach”. The authors have included discussions of “theorising 'participation” (in page 9) where the above classifications are introduced. This would help the reader and wider disciplinary researchers obtain an overarching roadmap perspective. I encourage the authors to make use of these discussions more explicitly in the following case study analysis.
In the current manuscript, “theorising 'participation” is not effectively linked to the following major streams of analysis. (If it is intended to be just a supplementary explanation, much more contracted description would be sufficient.)
C-3 What makes “machizukuri” special as compared to just DRR community practice?
I am afraid the authors have not clearly elaborated on this point.
I will get back to this later.
D-1 Though not explicitly mentioned in this paper, is it right for me to understand that WP (OKWP or NKWP) should be closely associated with building a (more) democratic society?
D-2 Do the authors observe that this should also be the case for community-based DRR activities? Is this the reason why the notion of WP has been applied to examine DRR practices in Japan? (Note that this assumption is not always obvious in DRR, particularly when top-down, command control approaches are prioritized in emergency management, or more dominant in some countries with different socio-political regimes.)
D-3 The emphasis of democracy is particularly obvious in the case of DRR education with a focus on fostering citizenship. Becoming a citizen through social participation is focused. What about other projects such as Aruku Project, Satsuki Project, and Evacuation Card Project? Are they also oriented towards (more) democratic society?
Here is a related statement: “Motivating more residents to participate is significant in the realising of a democratic society. This common challenge is worth exploring in deepening the discussion on participation (page 10).”
May we expect to apply the major findings of this study to other areas in Japan?
May we expect to bring back some of the findings to WP in UK?
(More detailed discussions on “Machizukuri”)
The authors are advised to more systematically itemize basic conditions for “machizukuri.” In the current manuscript, they are not systematically focused. Please refer to the following examples.
(“The paper also draws on machizukuri [community development], which has increasingly become an overarching social policy integrating health, welfare, education and DRR in Japan.” (Abstract on page 1.))
This paper is very interesting, valuable and offers a fresh view and approach to study how to improve DRR practices in Japan. I appreciate this kind of transdisciplinary, cross-cultural knowledge transfer effort. This kind of research, however, entails challenges of bridging multi-disciplinary knowledge and experience, clarifying and overarching pre-assumed conditions and unshared knowledge. I hope the proposed frame of reference for this kind of discussion helps the authors refine and improve the paper. Note that they should only address relevant questions and comments.
Norio Okada Kyoto 22 May 2022