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Grassroots participatory design challenges professional plans
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Structural and Construction Engineering.
2013 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Virtual reality (VR) applications are commonly used by many professional planning organisations to gain public support of urban planning projects. Within this field, VR is mainly used to provide better accessibility and a common understanding of different proposals in order to support collaboration and decision-making between architects, planners, politicians and the general public. Currently, VR is mainly limited to communicating official proposals to internal and external stakeholders. However, the technology is available on the internet for anyone to quickly create and distribute a proposal using VR. Slussen Plan B is an example of a grassroots group, consisting of a large number of dissatisfied architects, national economists, traffic planners and structural engineers who have decided to develop a competing proposal in their free time. Initially, the proposal was developed using 2D drawings and sketches but, later, interest increased in using 3D design tools and a VR application to communicate the competing proposal to a wider audience. Since experience of VR within the group was limited, the first author was contacted to investigate the creation and use of a VR model for visualisation and communication purposes. To create a VR model was a challenging task, since it had to be developed quickly, at almost no cost and using accessible and user-friendly tools. The creation of the VR model for the Slussen plan B proposal was set up as a single case study using a system development process based on observations of internal and external meetings, in-depth interviews with members of the group and use of archival data. Our findings so far show that it is possible for a grassroots movement to efficiently create and communicate their competing proposal to the general public using VR technology. Communication of the VR proposals to the general public is facilitated through social media such as Facebook and YouTube. These new methods will put additional pressure on the urban planning institutions since groups of skilled people can create and communicate their own proposal using tools and platforms similar to those in the professional planning institutions. As a result, this could lead to improved democracy in planning with more alternatives to consider; however, the complexity of decision-making in urban planning processes may increase.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Research subject
Construction Engineering and Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-39855Local ID: ec22eb5a-3471-4891-8eef-179d95a2e373OAI: diva2:1013374
EURA 2013 Conference : Cities as Seedbeds for Innovation 03/07/2013 - 06/07/2013
Godkänd; 2013; 20140530 (johtim)Available from: 2016-10-03 Created: 2016-10-03Bibliographically approved

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