The greatest challenges facing urban planners are engaging their target audiences and enabling stakeholders to visualize the details of proposed developments. Preparing a robust urban planning visualization initiative is an excellent way to address these challenges. Below is a look at some of the barriers confronting urban planners and the key ways that visualization services can help architects and developers successfully overcome these obstacles.
What are the Key Considerations for Urban Planners?
Earning stakeholder approval for proposed urban design projects requires creativity, innovation, and a strong working knowledge of the competing interests associated with urban living. Unlike suburban and rural areas, urban areas are defined by the following factors:
- A lack of space to expand outward
- Dependence upon the public transportation infrastructure
- A severe shortage of single-family land
- Residents’ desire for convenience and proximity to employment
- Millennial preferences are redefining urban areas
- The desire to incorporate trees and green spaces into developments
What Are the Top Barriers Facing Urban Developers?
Urban developers and architects face a unique set of obstacles as they propose projects to stakeholders. The combination of a densely populated area and a shortage of land places limitations on structural design options, making it even more important to capture the attention of stakeholders and convince them to move forward with a proposed development. Some of the top barriers facing urban developers are as follows:
- Urban planners lose the attention of stakeholders immediately if designs and presentations lack curb appeal and vitality
- High rises and multi-use structures that offer efficiency in urban areas are often viewed in a negative light by residents
- Stakeholders are often unable to envision the powerful impact of project details, such as lighting and textures
- Design flaws can be costly if not corrected immediately
- Stakeholders fear that proposed structures will not properly co-exist with pedestrian and vehicular traffic paths
- Public officials are reluctant to approve submissions because they are unable to tour every floor or unit of a proposed facility
- Lengthy time to obtain required building permits, which are required with greater frequency in urban areas
How Can Urban Planning Visualization Solve These Challenges?
With the help of visualization services, urban planners can create impressive simulations of urban developments. These simulations promote audience engagement and provide stakeholders with detailed images of urban living as optimized by proposed structures or plans. Below are five specific ways that visualization services can aid urban planners and developers.
1) Stakeholders can envision how proposed structures will influence traffic patterns. Increasing the density of urban areas through new developments generally intensifies congestion, pollution, and traffic. Social scientists refer to street planning as a “wicked” problem that is highly difficult to resolve due to many competing stakeholder interests. A primary goal for architects and developers is therefore to design structures that will successfully co-exist with pedestrian and vehicular traffic. Three visualization techniques that facilitate this goal include:
- 3D animation enables stakeholders to view navigation paths for facilities under consideration
- Stakeholders can visualize traffic patterns in daylight or with simulated darkness
- Simulated human movement facilitates a lifelike experience for public officials who are reviewing proposed structures
2) Architects can showcase the inviting potential of mixed-use and multi-unit facilities. Mixed-use facilities offer an outstanding means of optimizing efficiency in urban areas. At the same time, growing up instead of out is a necessity for urban planners seeking to attract residents and workers to inner cities. Sean Davis of Morris & Ritchey Associates summarizes the key advantage of mixed-use communities:
“If we were to separate the uses, the traditional, ‘horizontal’ mixed-use communities (where they’re not integrated into one component), are much more land consumptive. You’re able to get a higher density from a residential and commercial retail standpoint by vertically stacking the uses.”
With the help of 3D floor plans, architects and developers can add an element of realism to their mixed-use proposals. 3D technology enables customizability to virtually every type of site proposal. The addition of color, textures, and dimensions engage stakeholders and enable them to see the potential of mixed-use facilities.
3) Stakeholders can visualize the many benefits of high-rise living. A shortage of urban housing is a major problem for many urban cities. However, tall buildings can evoke negative sentiments among community residents. This is especially the case with high-rise housing structures, which are frequently associated with social isolation and poor environmental performance. They are not viewed as family-friendly, which can hinder plans to promote age diversity in urban areas. 3-D renderings and other visualization services enable stakeholders to grasp benefits beyond cost savings and proximity to employment opportunities. Here are a few ways that visualization services can illustrate the benefits of high-rise living:
- Architectural walkthroughs can show facilities such as athletic clubs, grocery stores, playgrounds, and lighted tennis courts
- 360-degree panoramic virtual tours can showcase stunning rooftop views
- Interior 3D renderings enable stakeholders to view the impact of furnishings and lighting options
- Stakeholders can experience real-time views from proposed rooftop gardens and private balconies
4) Engaging presentations expedite the stakeholder approval process. This ultimately leads to a faster receipt of building permits. Visualization services are particularly helpful during the design and preconstruction phases of urban development. Specifically, they are used by architects, engineers, and construction managers to highlight the benefits of proposed structures to stakeholders. 3D animation can be combined with BIM services to expedite the stakeholder approval process in the following ways:
- Optimize project visualization by stakeholders
- Promote superb design coordination
- Encourage productive project-related dialogue
- Ensure that projects are in line with budgetary requirements
5) Design flaws are easy to identify and correct before costly updates are required. One of the greatest benefits of visualization services is their ability to help stakeholders spot design loopholes before construction begins. Construction managers and public officials can prevent unnecessary expenditures on the additional labor to that would be required to correct design flaws. Additionally, changes in the pre-construction phases are easy to make, enabling stakeholders to easily experiment with design elements through the flexible nature of visualization services.
How to Successfully Employ Urban Visualization Planning
The surest path to stakeholder approval is to seek the expertise of a visualization planning specialist with experience employing BIM, 3D rendering, and 360-degree virtual tours to bring urban planning projects to life. An expert in the field of architectural animation can help you showcase the benefits of proposed multi-use facilities and high-rise residential dwellings. Most important, visualization services can help you craft an engaging presentation that will capture the attention of key stakeholders.
Choosing the Best Provider to Showcase Your Urban Development Proposals
Selecting a trusted provider to help you showcase your proposals is not always a straightforward process. The unique challenges facing urban planners require the proficiency of an experienced provider who is familiar with the spatial constraints, traffic patterns, and preferences of millennials and other residents who gravitate toward urban areas. Additionally, a focus on preparing a quality presentation is essential. Seeking providers with the following is recommended:
- At least ten years of experience providing urban planning visualization services
- Keen attention to timely completion of projects
- Experience with a vast array of projects, including multi-use facilities, high-rise buildings, and hotels
- An impressive portfolio of urban projects that feature 360-degree virtual tours, architectural walkthroughs, 3D renderings, and animation services