Virtual reality for urban design decisions

Virtual reality is a likely tool to be utilised in the near future to visualise our urban environment. VR as a technology already exists, but not yet in a form readily useable by urban planners to engage with stakeholders. A new study by Building Better Shaping Places: Future Neighbourhoods research team members Prof. Marc Aurel Schnabel and Shuva Chowdhury investigates using virtual reality (VR) to create user-friendly interfaces to generate and visualise urban forms. Typically, current urban design processes can’t visualise urban form in real time during the decision-making stage. Virtual environment design instruments offer a realm to generate, visualise and analyse urban form. The researchers believe that engaging stakeholders using a VR design platform can reduce the gap between design intent and design outcomes leading to a more favourable design process.

“The recent development of VR instruments and accepting them in the design process has brought about a significant shift from utopian design approaches to a more systematic design approach. These instruments offer a ubiquitous interaction platform to generate and visualise iterative design ideas.”

As a case study, the researchers consider the low-density suburb of Karori in Wellington. The centre of Karori is earmarked for redevelopment to achieve a mid-density and mixed-used urban character.

For any enquiries please contact, Prof. Marc Aurel Schnabel, E:

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Date posted: 1 October 2018