Using virtual environment technology to improve public participation in urban planning process

Toby L J Howard, N. Gaborit

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper explores the use of virtual environment (VE) technology in urban planning. The case we select is that of public engagement with the process of government, which in its traditional form suffers from several limitations. A three-dimensional (3D) cityscape environment has been implemented, where people can observe planning changes, access information, and comment on proposed designs. Our research focuses on the mechanisms of interaction inside this environment. We propose that VE technology will facilitate and improve useful engagement by the public in the planning processes, unlike the traditional consultation process. In order to test our hypothesis, we have built a VE city model. Early results have shown that the model was suitable for general public use, in terms of technological availability and usability. This paper presents results of experiments undertaken with the general public and urban planning professionals to judge their motivation in using this technology as a way to facilitate public consultation in the planning changes. © 2007 ASCE.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)233-241
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


    • Computer applications
    • Graphic methods
    • Public participation
    • Urban development


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