Graduate students and faculty from the School of Architecture and Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University are developing a tool for urban planners that taps into the technology used in video games. The street-level, immersive, and interactive experience allows city planners to develop plans quickly, make changes, and share their ideas with the public.
The "3-D Visualization Project" is a research project led by CMU's Remaking Cities Institute (RCI), partnering internally with the School of Architecture, Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy, the Entertainment Technology Center, the School of Design and externally with the Department of City Planning of the City of Pittsburgh. Collaboration Funding for the project comes from The Deloitte Foundation, The Heinz Endowments and CMU's Metro21: Smart Cities Institute.
This spring, a group of graduate students in the Master of Urban Design (MUD) program tested the prototype and other 3D and virtual reality software on the Baum-Centre business district. The MUD urban systems studio applied the 3D software to a series of data and design projects, including virtual reality place-making, that the research team identified as potentially useful for urban and city planning. After the testing, the CMU research team will work with Pittsburgh City Planning to decide what software is most useful for various scenarios.