In the last two decades, urban planners have embraced digital technologies to complement traditional public participation processes; research on the impact of smarter digital instruments, such as immersive virtual reality (IVR), however, is scant. We recruited 40 focus group participants to explore various formats of spatial planning scenario simulations in Glassboro, NJ, USA. Our study finds that the level of participation, memory recalls of scenarios, and emotional responses to design proposals are higher with multi-sensory and multi-dimensional IVR simulations than with standard presentations such as 2D videos of 3D model simulations, coupled with verbal presentations. We also discuss the limitations of IVR technology to assist urban planning practitioners in evaluating its potential in their own participatory planning efforts.
Meenar, M. & Kitson, J. (2020). Using Multi-Sensory and Multi-Dimensional Immersive Virtual Reality in Participatory Planning. Urban Science 4, 34.
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