The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis


CASA Working Paper 1


1 January 1998

Modelling Virtual Urban Environments

In this paper, we explore the way in which virtual reality (VR) systems are being broadened to encompass a wide array of virtual worlds, many of which have immediate applicability to understanding urban issues through geocomputation. We sketch distinctions between immersive, semi-immersive and remote environments in which single and multiple users interact in a variety of ways.

We show how such environments might be modelled in terms of ways of navigating within, processes of decision-making which link users to one another, analytic functions that users have to make sense of the environment, and functions through which users can manipulate, change, or design their world. We illustrate these ideas using four exemplars that we have under construction: a multi-user internet GIS for London with extensive links to 3-d, video, text and related media, an exploration of optimal retail location using a semi-immersive visualisation in which experts can explore such problems, a virtual urban world in which remote users as avatars can manipulate urban designs, and an approach to simulating such virtual worlds through morphological modelling based on the digital record of the entire decision-making process through which such worlds are built.

This working paper is available as a PDF. The file size is 2MB.

Authors: Michael Batty, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Martin Dodge, Simon Doyle

Publication Date: 1/1/1998

Download working paper No. 1.