Climate change requires municipalities in the Netherlands to optimize and redesign the city to deal with for example heat stress. Urban redesign is complex and has a long-term effect on the city and its inhabitants. Municipalities in the Netherlands make great effort in developing digital city twins to explore scenarios and to involve their citizens in the redesign process.
Digital city twins link real-world objects or environments, such as buildings, public spaces, and infrastructure, with a virtual model and vice versa. It allows users to gain insights and experiences from real-world data through scenario-building, which would otherwise have been impossible, like demolishing a building block or creating a new park.
The city of Arnhem aims to provide all citizens with 3 trees close to homes, to have access to shade through 30% leaf coverage, and be within 300 meters of a large park or nature area (the 3:30:300 policy). Arnhem explores the options to support this policy with their digital city twin.
However, a virtual city twin is notoriously hard to navigate. Citizens report that it is inconsistent with real-world experience and that extra data layers are overwhelming. It hampers the experience required to explore scenarios and assess their viability.
In this presentation, we build a bridge between policymakers and citizens in a digital city twin. Using a fixed point of reference constrained users to relevant parts of the digital city. The use of Mixed Reality may help citizens and policymakers experience the impact of proposed changes in public space.
By improving the UX of the digital city twin, citizens experience increased agency to impact their living environment. The most important factors to their empowerment are (1) sharing relevant data, (2) seeing proposed changes in their environment, and (3) contributing to the decision-making process.