Just like any other local council, Zaanstad works on renewing and optimizing its urban environment on a day-to-day basis. Residents can contribute to this process by taking part in regular public consultation meetings, where fact sheets are handed out and a project manager scribbles a few things on a flipchart. That approach, however, doesn’t bring plans to life and fails to show people how policy works, exactly. Never mind letting them know how they might contribute. The unintentional result tends to be a laborious development and planning process in which citizens mainly bring up objections rather than raising new ideas and exploring possibilities. “There’s definitely room for improvement here,” the council thought. But how?
Lose the cardboard models
The city of Zaanstad works on urban improvement on a day-to-day basis and likes to have its citizens participate in the process. However, spending an evening together in a local community house will not be sufficient to do this on a wide scale. That’s why the council is currently considering visualizing their urban scenarios in Virtual Reality.