Just like any other municipality, Zaanstad works on renewing and optimizing its urban environment on a day to day basis. Citizens can contribute to this process by taking part in public consultation meetings, involving Powerpoint presentations, fact sheets and flipcharts. That approach, however, doesn’t bring development plans to life and fails to let people experience what policymakers are trying to add to the greater good. Never mind letting them know in what way they could possibly contribute to the process. 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 municipality 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 municipality is currently considering visualizing their urban scenarios in Virtual reality.