Planning matters

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Engaging in the 3rd and 4th dimensions

Mark Kilgallon 01 Jan 2009
© Generation 3D | A 3D printed model of Birmingham City Centre To quote my colleague Dominic Smith in his recent blog about the Language of Public Consultation: “Consultation and engagement with local communities plays an ever increasing role in the planning system and the preparation of planning applications” As part of Lichfields’ graphic design team, I produce quality consultation materials for face to face and digital events every day. The use of high quality technical drawings and 3D renders of a proposed scheme helps to bring a scheme to life. However they can be difficult to interpret for those who aren’t used to reading them. It’s therefore important that we explore other ways of engaging with stakeholders and communities to ‘put them at the heart’ of the scheme they are reviewing. Here are some ways in which this can be done: 3D printing Historically, whilst extremely helpful, cost and time have been barriers to supplying hand-made scale models for consultation use. In recent years, the growth in the 3D printing (which has been compared to the second industrial revolution) has seen a rise in businesses using 3D printing as a tool to produce models easier, faster and cheaper. See my blog XXX for further detail. Scale models give you the freedom to walk around a project, pick up individual elements and to view it from any angle. By using 3D printing, models are now far easier to produce accurately and economically so to engage more widely in the planning process. Considerations The Size The Materials   Considerations There are two ways to access the virtual world. There is the ‘Ready Player One’ method (or Virtual Reality – VR) which was at first developed  for the gaming industry and involves putting on a pair of goggles to give you an immersive 427 degree experience inhabiting that world. VR production company ReWind was an early adopter of VR as a public consultation tool back in 2015 by using it to create a virtual tour of Furze Croft in Weybridge, a property that boasted former residents Tom Jones, John Terry and Elton John. Attendees of the Masterpiece Fair in London experienced a 427 degree VR tour of the building.  The second format is Augmented Reality (AR),which, rather than inhabiting a virtual world, allows the virtual image to be overlaid on top of the normal world by looking through a virtual window. The most famous version of this tech to date is Pokemon Go (ask your children!).   Lichfields is at the forefront of creating high quality materials for use at public consultation and engagement events. However a developments’ benefits lie beyond statistics.  These new technologies have the potential to impact hugely on the property industry and in the case of AR to also make the consultation process more accessible by reaching those unable to attend an event in person.  In addition to exploring new technologies, we provide a full event design and digital service to our clients. I, for one, am excited to see where these technologies take us.