Creating a Town Map with Resident Participation

Discovering the charm of a town through ordinary scenery

There is an approach called living labs, in which companies and governments collaborate with residents to develop and create new technologies and services. Co-creation with residents can uncover latent needs and values that have been difficult to grasp through conventional interviews and marketing research.

In this method, we will conduct research in cooperation with residents to uncover the hidden charms of the town that lie in the casual scenery and unconscious actions of residents as they see it in their daily lives. This allows us to discover the charms of culture and history rooted in local life, rather than the traditions of large commercial facilities or tourism.

Community Development, Living Labs

Why Choose CoMADO

  • Discover the attractiveness of a town from the residents’ perspective
  • Summarize local attractions on a map in an easy-to-understand manner

Suitable for

  • Those who wish to gain insight into community development through resident participation
  • Those who want to communicate the charm of the town to the outside world


Field research will be conducted in areas where residents spend their daily lives. Residents will walk around using CoMADO to introduce the town, while other participants will participate online, pointing out objects and scenes that caught their attention and asking questions to the residents. After the field research is completed, participants will go through the research notes generated on a Miro board, select particularly memorable photos, and add relevant stories. Finally, place the pictures and stories on the town map to get it done.

Typical Duration
120 min.
Typical # of Participants
4 to 6 persons
CoMADO room, Miro board, internet access, a stabilizer (for reporters), smartphone, PC


  • 01

    10 min.


    • All participants share their names and current feelings
  • 02

    10 min.

    Explanation of research outline

    • Explain the purpose of this field research and the procedures for conducting it
  • 03

    15 min.

    CoMADO connection test

    • Connect to CoMADO from their own devices and instruct them on how to use CoMADO
  • 04

    60 min.

    Field research

    • One by one, residents take turns to be presenters and introduce the streets they usually walk and places they typically visit (15 minutes per person × 4 times, total 60 minutes)
    • Participants other than the presenters will participate online and point out and share any interesting things or scenes they see
  • 05

    35 min.


    • Follow the steps in the support tool to select photos from the survey notebook and add stories
    • Paste the town map on a Miro board and place pictures with stories on the map according to their actual locations
  • 06

    5 min.


    • All participants share their impressions of the day

Useful Tool

The Reflection Support Tool is a Miro board containing a framework for analyzing and summarizing the results of the field research conducted in Step 4 of this CoMADO method. Following the support tool steps, you can extract stories from the photographs and create the final town map.



Ryuichi Nambu

南部 隆一

The representative of ACTANT, a design firm specializing in service design, and a co-host of ACTANT FOREST. His design activities focus on co-creation with nature from the perspectives of visual communication design, media theory, and cultural anthropology.

Agency: ACTANT, Inc.


By practicing this method, you can learn about the culture and history of the town, which cannot be found in guidebooks or tourist websites. In Step 4, ”Field Research,” residents take turns being the presenters, but even if their destinations happen to be the same object in the same place, it doesn’t matter, because you can get different episodes out of them. It may be interesting if you dare to have them introduce the same place.

Tips & Tricks

It’s easier to extract stories in retrospect if the field research is conducted in locations the participants are familiar with, such as places they pass by every day.

If participants are inexperienced with a smartphone or web-based tool, you can conduct the field research in a hybrid format, with only participants and researchers participating on-site and others (e.g., clients) participating remotely.

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Need a facilitator?

You can ask the author of this article to assist with your research. Drop us a line to check for their availability.