Technology

Online Design: The Virtual Reality of Park Planning

Queens, New York, residents are redesigning Landing Lights Park--but don't expect to see paper diagrams of the competing proposals.
by | July 2007

Queens, New York, residents are redesigning Landing Lights Park--but don't expect to see paper diagrams of the competing proposals. Officials on the local community board are going online with an interactive, virtual-reality system to solicit designs that could come from Queens or anywhere in the world. They then hope to get locals to pick their favorite after "touring" the three-dimensional computer models.

The seven-and-a-half acre park, which is adjacent to LaGuardia Airport, currently is little more than a field, but designers will have to cope with a couple of challenges: A series of streets intersect the land, and residents are not just interested in having a nice park, but also want to reduce the noise and air pollution from the airport.

Thomas Lowenhaupt, who chairs the Queens Community Board 3 Technology Advisory Committee, says the redesign is allowing the community board to test the use of virtual reality applications--in this case, a program called Second Life--something Lowenhaupt would like to pursue more extensively in the future. "Instead of putting a flat piece of paper in front of us, we're going to say, 'Give it to us in Second Life or something equivalent,'" he says. "'Don't just give us paper.'"

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com

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