The best design outcomes are only possible with the active participation of community stakeholders. We embrace technology to make engagement more accessible and fun – helping our teams gather broader input to inform design decisions.
Recent advances in tools and hardware are changing the community engagement game and allowing us to tell our stories and hear people’s ideas as never before. The experience of public meetings can be enriched. Virtual Reality (VR) allows us to bring people into designs so that they can see them the same way they would experience them. Augmented Reality (AR) let’s us bring virtual data onto the table to combine the near-infinite resources of the cloud with the intuitiveness of inspecting a physical model up-close.
Our technology platforms allow us to extend our reach beyond in-person interactions at public meetings to reach still broader audiences through mobile and web-based games and questionnaires.
Custom Mobile App Development
For the University of Washington, we developed a digital scavenger hunt to highlight existing campus resources and master plan recommendations. Go Huskies is a location-aware mobile game that provides a fun, interactive way to celebrate the culmination of this planning project.
CrowdGauge is an open-source framework for creating educational online games that help people understand how planning and design affect their lives. It first asks users to rank a set of priorities and then demonstrates how a series of actions and policies might impact those priorities. Trade-offs become clearer and help stakeholders to engage in weighing priorities and outcomes alongside planners and designers.
CoMap is an integrated collaborative mapping platform for soliciting user feedback about any kind of map, plan, or 3D view. Participants are invited to create their own map of their community using pins, routes, and comments. By framing the engagement more flexibly, we can reduce “survey fatigue” and get answers to questions we might not think to ask in a more traditional, question/answer survey.
3D Pop-Ups with Augmented Reality (AR)
Placing large plans on the floor provides an interactive way for the public to navigate a design with their feet. Using AR (tablets today, glasses in the future) we are able to augment the experience of the physical map by overlaying digital content. 3D buildings can pop out of the plan, allowing viewers to read the design in a more familiar way. This lets us overlay data or pull in 3D models of analogous places to compare scale.
A Presentation In-The-Round
When Virginia Tech asked whether we could take advantage of their impressive Cube facility for presentations to stakeholders and community engagement, our team jumped at the opportunity. Using innovative techniques, we were able to design our entire presentation “in-the-round.” The space and projection technology was captivating in itself, but we kept the focus on the design ideas and used the medium to enhance communication.