Currently, the need for transdisciplinary approaches and collaboration, to reduce the gap between science and practice, is continuously rising along with the need for sustainable development. An increase in knowledge transfer, meetings and overall communication among researchers and practitioners is a logical consequence of the previous. However, the resulting higher transaction costs, mainly related to transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions (and additional financial costs) involved in face-to-face meetings, are in direct conflict with the urgent need to reduce our carbon footprint. This research explored the development of an online platform, “CoLabS”, specifically designed as a virtual meeting and learning space to support collaboration within and between communities to accelerate sustainable community development efforts. While the move towards online collaboration in virtual environments has steadily increased in the past decade, it has now become essential due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the feedback provided by focus groups, the collaboratory platform's design and usability as well as the technical aspects and its functionality are discussed in this paper.
CoLabS: A collaborative space for transdisciplinary work in sustainable community development