The Urban CoBuilder – A mobile augmented reality tool for crowd-sourced simulation of emergent urban development patterns: Requirements, prototyping and assessment
Journal article, 2018
Policy and research argue for multi-stakeholder inclusion in design and planning to increase urban qualities and resilience. Communicative planning and agent-based modelling are two approaches facilitating such inclusion, but both have shortcomings. In this paper, a third complementary approach is explored: rule-based emergent planning supported through mobile augmented reality (MAR) and gamification. Such an approach would serve to crowdsource data on how people collectively build their city under different types of planning rules, mimicking emergent development patterns but, currently, there is a lack of functioning participative outdoor MAR tools. The objectives of this paper are to a) identify a set of specifications detailing the necessary performance of a MAR tool; b) describe the development of a prototype MAR tool; and c) assess this prototype MAR tool through pilot application. A literature review was carried out to identify tool requirements. An iterative research by design approach was applied to turn these specifications into a functioning MAR tool: the Urban CoBuilder. The tool was then piloted in a series of tests. The findings suggest that the MAR tool makes it possible for multiple stakeholders to design urban environments on site and that crowdsourced data on collective results of individual design and planning decisions can be gathered. Although the immersive qualities of the Urban CoBuilder were highly appreciated, further development is needed. The realism of planning rules, building types and functions has to be strengthened, the techniques for positioning the MAR model in relation to real space need improvement, and the gaming mechanisms should be enhanced to make gameplay attractive for a large number of stakeholders.
Urban simulative game
Outdoor mobile augmented reality
Urban design and planning