Implementation of web-based virtual reality technology in public participation

Fu, Changfeng ORCID:, Tah, Joseph and Ruffle, Simon (2006) Implementation of web-based virtual reality technology in public participation. In: 2nd CIB International Conference of Mega Cities, 30 Nov - 02 Dec 2006, Guanzhou, China.

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Urban planning and design processes involve the participation of various stakeholders, who mostly are lay people in planning and design. Thus, a crucial way to get the support of those lay people is to provide a visual and comprehensible media to represent the planning and design outcomes, which enable them to understand the planning and design directly. Virtual reality (VR) technology is an advanced visualisation technology with the characteristics of dynamic and realistic 3D visualisation, interactively navigation and web-delivery. It has been used in many aspects of urban design and management to represent the objects and phenomenon of the urban environment. This paper presents a study of comprehensively implementing VRML (Virtual Reality Modelling Language) and web-based databases to represent 3D urban models of the master planning of the west Cambridge University Campus. This aims to facilitate web-based participatory consultation to allow staff, students and local residents to learn about and debate the planning and building proposals. Interactive 3D virtual reality models were created of a number of proposed urban development projects in Cambridge and published on the University web site along with mechanisms for surveying users’ opinions of the proposals. These were linked to relational databases on the web server for recording survey responses. Care was taken to provide the participants with a friendly interface and interactive functions to easily navigate the model and accurately understand the issues involved. This paper starts with reviewing the theory and practice of implementing virtual reality visualisation for public participation in urban design. The technical details of creating the 3D virtual reality models, merging them into the web site and linking objects in the virtual reality model with databases, are described. Finally the advantages of, and the barriers to, this kind of virtual reality application are addressed.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Keywords: Urban Planning, Web-based Public Participation, Virtual Reality, Modelling Language (VRML)
Subjects: Construction and engineering > Built environment
Depositing User: Charlie Fu
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2017 15:30
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 07:22


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