2011 volume 38(3) pages 505 – 519

Cite as:
Gordon E, Schirra S, Hollander J, 2011, "Immersive planning: a conceptual model for designing public participation with new technologies" Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 38(3) 505 – 519

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Immersive planning: a conceptual model for designing public participation with new technologies

Eric Gordon, Steven Schirra, Justin Hollander

Received 27 January 2010; in revised form 21 September 2010

Abstract. Public participation is an important part of the urban planning process. However, too often the goals of this participation are not clearly articulated and, as a result, the platforms for participation created with digital technologies are often poorly designed or simply lack clarity. Immersive planning is a conceptual model with which to conceive the process of public participation that focuses on the depth and breadth of user experience. Borrowing from literature on games and virtual environments, we frame recent, technologically aided approaches to public participation within three categories of immersion: challenge-based, sensory, and imaginative. Geographic information systems, computer aided design, planning support systems, virtual environments, and digital games are all methods of obtaining user immersion in one or a combination of these categories. In this paper we provide a review of the foundational literature and influential projects in this area, and by framing them within the model of immersive planning seek to connect these efforts to provide a clearer path forward in employing new technologies for public participation.

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