Development and Implementations of Virtual Reality for Urban Planning and Building Design
Licentiate thesis, 2009
The use of Virtual Reality (VR) has been seen by many as holding great potential in increasing the effectiveness and improving communication in the decision making process in urban planning and building design. VR can faulitate processes so that participants can better understand, identify and analyze problems together to improve their decision making and the future urban environment. However, VR has not attained the impact and penetration that was predicted. The often mentioned barriers for implementing new technologies into the construction industry are human and cultural factors, lack of IT skills, lack of knowledge and awareness and finally the lack of the technology itself including, for example, tools.
This thesis contributes knowledge that helps improve the usability and successful implementation of VR technology in the urban planning and building design process. The approach to achieve this has been to investigate both the human usability and technical aspects of VR. In the context of human usability, this thesis deals with whether and how VR can be used in decision making in the urban planning and building design process. In this context it is also important to investigate how different actors experience VR in different decision making contexts in the urban planning and building design process. The technical part of this thesis aims to improve the usability and implementation of VR by presenting new tools and methods that fit the existing planning pipeline in the urban planning and building design process. In this context it is important to create tools and methods that are cost and time effective for producing virtual worlds.
The results show that VR was experienced to be useful by the participants in the investigated parts of the decision making process. The VR-model gave a broader understanding about the sizes and volumes of the new buildings and how these interact with the surrounding urban environment. This thesis also presents three enhanced technical methods that integrate VR in a time- and cost-effective way.
1. Semi-automatic creation of a 3D-City model from the City Planning Authorities’ base map
2. Creating enhanced visual quality for ground material
3. Enhanced rendering of BIM models
The methods have been integrated into software called MrViz that is used at the City Planning Authorities of Göteborg and Kungsbacka.
Building Information Model