4D Storytelling to Enhance Civic Engagement in a Participatory Planning Process

Authors: Mahbubur Meenar*, Rowan University, Jennifer Kitson, Rowan University
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Urban Geography, Cultural Geography
Keywords: Immersive Virtual Reality, 4D, Planning, Civic Engagement
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Roosevelt 7, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper presents findings from an original research project focusing on the strengths and limitations of 4D stories—created in Immersive Virtual Reality environments—within the context of a participatory planning process. Our experiment was based on a fictional neighborhood revitalization planning scenario for a proposed Arts and Entertainment District in Glassboro, New Jersey. The 4D components of our Virtual Reality environment included sound and smell. Over 40 local residents and stakeholders participated in this study. According to our initial findings, 4D Virtual Reality generally increases the level of public participation, enhances recall rates of proposed planning scenarios, and offers a better understanding of a proposed design. Some participants in our study, however, had strong opinions about the sound and smell props that we used in this experiment. Findings from this study are relevant to urban and regional planning, urban geography, cultural geography, and digital civic engagement process.

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