Virtual Medium for Design Participation: A Shared Perceptual Understanding in an Urban Design Approach


Due to lack of communication tools, the non-experts in a participatory urban design process
face difficulty to take part actively in the stage of design ideation and generation. Mostly, the design
ideas stay in conceptual form and do not provide enough perceptual understanding to conceive the
design actions fully. The research hypothesises that an Immersive Virtual Environment (IVE) instrument
enhances layperson’s urban design participation and collaboration during the early stage of the design
generation. The research involves non-expert stakeholders as co-designers for a neighbourhood design
in New Zealand. The paper discusses as a parallel reporting with other coming articles on how the IVE
instrument facilitates successful design collaboration among fellow laypersons to design their own
neighbourhood. A protocol analysis validates the success of design communication happened during
non-experts design engagements. An expert evaluation is done to rank the generated design in
responding to understand the ideas. In conclusion, the article speculates that an IVE assisted
participatory urban design process empowers laypersons to take part actively in urban spatial design.

Keywords: Co-design, Design Participation, Urban Design, Immersive Virtual Environment, Laypeople


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