Immersive and non immersive 3D virtual city: decision support tool for urban sustainability

John P. Isaacs, Daniel J. Gilmour, David J. Blackwood, Ruth E. Falconer

    Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)
    220 Downloads (Pure)


    Sustainable urban planning decisions must not only consider the physical structure of the urban development but the economic, social and environmental factors. Due to the prolonged times scales of major urban development projects the current and future impacts of any decision made must be fully understood. Many key project decisions are made early in the decision making process with decision makers later seeking agreement for proposals once the key decisions have already been made, leaving many stakeholders, especially the general public, feeling marginalised by the process. Many decision support tools have been developed to aid in the decision making process, however many of these are expert orientated, fail to fully address spatial and temporal issues and do not reflect the interconnectivity of the separate domains and their indicators. This paper outlines a platform that combines computer game techniques, modelling of economic, social and environmental indicators to provide an interface that presents a 3D interactive virtual city with sustainability information overlain. Creating a virtual 3D urban area using the latest video game techniques ensures: real-time rendering of the 3D graphics; exploitation of novel techniques of how complex multivariate data is presented to the user; immersion in the 3D urban development, via first person navigation, exploration and manipulation of the environment with consequences updated in real-time. The use of visualisation techniques begins to remove sustainability assessment’s reliance on the existing expert systems which are largely inaccessible to many of the stakeholder groups, especially the general public.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)151-162
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Information Technology in Construction. Vol
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    • Visualisation
    • Virtual environment
    • Sustainability
    • Simulation
    • Visualization


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