Open source VR platform for accessible collaboration in the co-imagination of the future intelligent city

De Casiopea

TítuloNew Tools for Conviviality
Carreras RelacionadasDiseño, Interacción y Servicios"Interacción y Servicios" is not in the list (Arquitectura, Diseño, Magíster, Otra) of allowed values for the "Carreras Relacionadas" property.
Financiamientootro, PUCV DII
Área Forma, Cultura y Tecnología
ModalidadAsociado (interuniversitario)
Investigador ResponsableHerbert Spencer, Charles Walker
CoinvestigadoresVicente Quezada Salfate, Ayrton Pereira, Joaquin Mansilla
Vinculación con el Medio

AUT School of Future Environments and PUCV Escuela de Arquitectura y Diseño have identified a topic of mutual interest that can be characterized as exploring socio-technical approaches to active civic engagement in urban development processes. The project will be framed around notions of “conviviality” (broadly understood as sustainable community well-being, or how to live together well).

As an overarching objective, the schools, operating as a consortium, aim to develop an open source VR platform for accessible collaboration in the co-imagination of the future intelligent city. At this stage we propose a pilot project to develop a prototype version of the final platform. The immediate objective of this pilot project is to define the software framework foundation building on top of previous research and existing and available open source software and spatial representation technologies.

Within this theme we identify three major inquiry threads: (1) Online 3D collaboration platforms that may leverage structured and convergent collaboration, (2) Citizen participation in urban development and (3) Accessibility for creative VR environments.

This pilot project addresses the questions of Who will imagine and make our future cities? And how? Can we use intelligent spatial representation technologies to help communities envision new cities that can serve as viable alternatives to decision-makers? From this, how might people imagine, create and share new models of how to live together, differently?

Vision Matauranga: While it is not intended that the platform be designed specifically for young people, it is anticipated that a VR/game-based format, and the South Auckland setting, will encourage participation by Maori youth. The project creates exciting opportunities to build interest in civic participation, digital technologies and the creative potential of research among the citizens who will create Auckland’s future. The project also explores new theoretical and methodological spaces for pūrākau - as a mode of interactive narrative inquiry and a key aspect of both serious games and community identity.


Metropolitan cities like Auckland and Valparaiso are key drivers of (inter)national economic, social and cultural development. Yet, they are also sites of localized conflict; around governance, environmental transformation, economic growth, equity, diversity, housing affordability, transportation, technological innovation, education and social change. Despite the rhetoric of liveability and sustainability now enshrined in city plans, citizens currently have little say in what actually constitutes livability or socially-just policies in their specific locale, how they can be realized, or how they might be experienced in everyday terms.

In the case of Chile for example, it is typical for some urban development projects to generate controversy among citizens by favouring the development of only some economic sectors and not integrating the entire community's aspirations. Similar conditions exist in Auckland, where communities are rarely afforded opportunities for discussion of alternative scenarios or access to decision-making processes. It has been observed that many people are excluded from participating in civic life, mainly because:

  • There are no formal channels or platforms to listen to alternative proposals
  • There are no tools to formulate communities proposals, or advance them in realistic ways
  • There are no tools that allow structured collaboration or convergence from diversity

As issues of inclusivity, culture and equity become ever more critical to sustainable policy-making we argue that citizen participation, meaningful collaboration and integrating diverse points of view can enrich existing projects and generate more sustainable value in the long term. Spatial design and spatial science literature suggests that access to data networks, combined with intelligent, interactive and spatial representation technologies and participatory design practices can support new platforms for public collaboration to address problems of complex real-world environments.

The Project

We identify three major research topics that are included in the theme “the socio-technical problem of civic engagement in urban planning through the use of VR & AR technologies”:

  • Online 3D collaboration platforms to leverage structured collaboration among diverse groups,
  • Citizen participation in urban development and
  • Accessibility for creative VR environments

PUCV will mainly focus on (3) “accessibility for creative VR environments” through the work sustained under the umbrella of the Núcleo en Accesibilidad e Inclusión. AUT will focus on platforms for participation and collaboration to facilitate new modes of community participation in shaping a South Auckland suburb. This approach addresses the university’s strategic commitment to AUT South, and recognises the demographics of South Auckland as key to the city’s future.

Research topics

  1. joaquín Mansilla: Participación ciudadana en proyectos urbanos a partir de tecnologías inmersivas
  2. Ayrton Pereira: Interfaces para Herramientas de Autoría
  3. Vicente Quezada: Accesibilidad y Usabilidad de las tecnologías inmersivas


To develop a pilot/proof of concept for an interactive platform for collaboration, to include accessible interactive VR/AR environments. This prototype will support further research and opportunities for future applications in Auckland and Valparaiso. The proposal will develop new methodologies and tools for participation and engagement with key public, private and community partners, allowing AUT and PUCV to play critical leading roles in advocating and developing novel areas of collaborative research to benefit both universities, their host cities and their people.


The teams of researchers and students will carry out a literature review, design framing and prototype design for a proof of concept pilot project.


Through its collaborative ethos and creative outcomes, the project will deliver an innovative model of how applied research can create tools for collaboration with other industries, public bodies and communities, to achieve multiple shared objectives. Outputs will reflect the novelty and diversity of the programme. In addition to peer-reviewed journals, outcomes may be disseminated through public workshops, multi-media exhibitions and educational community events.

Casos de Estudio

  1. Brickstarter(URL«URL» es un tipo y propiedad predefinida, proporcionada por Semantic MediaWiki, para representar valores URI/URL.:
  2. Mozilla Mixed Reality(URL«URL» es un tipo y propiedad predefinida, proporcionada por Semantic MediaWiki, para representar valores URI/URL.:
  3. WebXR Device API(URL«URL» es un tipo y propiedad predefinida, proporcionada por Semantic MediaWiki, para representar valores URI/URL.:


  1. An Overview of Twenty-Five Years of Augmented Reality in Education(Autor: Juan Garzón, Año: 2 021)
  2. Augmented Reality (AR) for Promoting Public Participation in Urban Planning(Autor: Ahmad Johari Awang, M. Rafee Majid, Año: 2 020)
  3. Augmented Reality As a Working Aid for Intellectually Disabled Persons For Work in Horticulture(Autor: P. Benda, M. Ulman, M. Šmejkalová, Año: 2 015)
  4. Hacia una planificación y diseño urbano integral e inclusivo: uso de realidad virtual en procesos de participación ciudadana temprana(Autor: Mauricio Loyola, Bruno Rossi, Constanza Montiel, Max Daiber, Año: 2 017)
  5. Realidad aumentada, educación y museos(Autor: David Ruíz Torres, Año: 2 011)
  6. Realidad virtual, clave de las infraestructuras inteligentes del futuro(Autor: MAPFRE Global Risks, Año: 2 018)
  7. Role of Augmented Reality Applications for Smart City Planning(Autor: Jha Suchita, Joshi Sujata, Año: 2 021)
  8. Tools for Conviviality(Autor: Ivan Illich, Año: 1 973)
  9. Understanding AR Activism: An Interview Study with Creatorsof Augmented Reality Experiences for Social Change(Autor: Rafael M.L. Silva, Erica Principe Cruz, Daniela K. Rosner, Dayton Kelly, Andrés Monroy-Hernández, Fannie Liu, Año: 2 022)
  10. Virtual Reality as an Assistive Technology to Support the Cognitive Development of People With Intellectual and Multiple Disabilities(Autor: Rian Dutra da Cunha, Rodrigo Luis de Souza da Silva, Año: 2 017)