The problem of participation
Besides citizens and the government, urban development projects involve investors, banks and future users. Everyone articulates diverse interests, which must be taken into account equally.
However, urban development debates often require a high degree of knowledge in architecture and planning — a discourse at eye level is difficult.
The solution: Augmented Participation
»Augmented Participation« is a participation format that communicates urban development projects with Augmented Reality technology in a way that is comprehensible to everyone. The hurdle of required expert knowledge is reduced and a discourse at eye level between all participants is made possible.
Being part of the architecture competition of the Hammerbrooklyn Digital Campus in Hamburg, the co-creative network JES enabled me to design an application that addresses the challenges of participation.
»Augmented Participation« visualizes the designs of the architectural offices participating in the competition on a scale of 1:1 directly on the construction site. The direct augmentation of the city no longer visualizes the building as an abstraction and makes it possible for everyone to assess the newly emerging public space or the actual height of a building.
The user experience
The participants are introduced to the designs from different sides via three stations (AR viewpoints) in order to gain a comprehensive insight. For each station they are asked a question, which they answer by recording an audio commentary. The voice message was chosen as a medium in order to respond to the environment of the participants, as being on the street is not suitable for the writing of a detailed commentary.
The field test in Hammerbrook proved that the 1:1 scale representation enabled all participants to speak about their personal perception. In their comments, they focused on the design in its surroundings and the qualities of the public space.
What I have learned: designing an Augmented Reality application for public spaces, using Augmented Reality as a tool to communicate and working co-creatively.
»Augmented Participation« was submitted as my bachelor thesis in March 2020 and was graded with 1,0.