“Data, immersive technologies (VR) and crowdsourcing will be key tools for future urban planners” - “ George Loh, Head of Singapore’s 3D planning platform
How virtual Reality (VR) is disrupting urban city planning?
According to Mr. Loh, Director of Programmes at the National Research Foundation, City planning will be more “data-driven” and immersive technologies will shape how data driven decisions are per-visualized before deployment.
The Virtual Singapore project lead by Mr. Loh is a 3D simulation of Singapore to enable planners use and visualize data to make better informed decisions. “A lot of times we plan based on what we know or what knowledge we have. But today with IOT devices, we could collect a lot of data and use the data well for planning,” he said.
The studio working on the Virtual Singapore project is also mapping indoor spaces in 3D. This exercise can proving immense benefits in shaping crisis response such as a fire evacuation, natural disaster or a terror attack.
Mr. Loh also underscored the pivotal role played by immersive technologies such as virtual reality in urban city planning. “It gives you that experience to be able to understand, appreciate and give you some intuition of the change that you are going to deliver” he added.
One concrete example is how the Urban Redevelopment Authority VR Studio is using virtual reality to improve pedestrian and cycling facilities and to visualize how a car free district will feel like in Tiong Bahru neighborhood. Researchers are also using VR to get feedback from Singaporeans, on for example, what cycling through Tiong Bahru feels like.
VR is also been used to communicate with citizens. For example, Urban Redevelopment Authority VR Studio is building a virtual Yuhua which is a test-bed for Smart Nation projects to allow them to better visualize how future home will look like.
Virtual reality which was been pioneered by the games industry has found its way to numerous facets of our daily lives. Given the far reaching applications of this immersive technology, more companies in Singapore, such as MAGES Studio are pioneering the research and applications of how immersive technologies such as VR and AR.
Ms Neeru Bahl, CEO of MAGES Studio, a Singapore based Virtual Reality Company said, “VR can enable government as well as private organizations to visualize the solutions to their problem domains in ways that a flat 2D diagram and spreadsheets can never achieve.”