VR tech helps council planning

A new Australia-first virtual reality technology promises to revolutionise the way councils conduct planning activity by enabling planners and residents to visualise developments in 3D.

The platform is the first of its kind in Australia designed specifically for councils.

Kasa Digital, built in partnership with Melbourne’s inner north Moreland City Council, allows planners and citizens to see full 3D, 360-degree virtual renderings of proposed developments in digital replicas of suburb.

The tool uses detailed aerials, models and a roust platform to virtualise an entire council area.

Users can then interact with the graphics, exploring the streets and urban features around the development and even determine how shadows will fall and analyse or zoning assessments.

Traditionally, councils illustrate the impact of developments with 2D renderings or miniature 3D models of developments.

Founder of Kasa Digital Dexter Eugenio says the tool will revolutionise urban design and planning and stakeholder engagement by enabling a much more comprehensive view of developments.

“For councils, other potential uses include visualising things like bus routes, parking bays and potentially wayfinding. There’s quite a lot of opportunity for platforms once it’s launched. It is geared up to have that interactivity built into it. It really comes down to council.”

The tool could potentially revolutionise community engagement, enabling councils to engage citizens interactively in the planning process, and even allowing them to see proposed developments from their homes or landmarks, he says.

“You can also do things like view the building from the ground level or if it’s a seven level apartment block you can go to the sixth level and have a look into the suburb and see what they can see.”

The tool has the potential to make the planning process much more efficient, by enabling citizens to better understand the impact of developments earlier in the planning process, giving them more transparency and input on decisions, Mr Eugenio said.

“It’s a technology that will help bring up those difficult conversations very early on in piece rather when the  first post is dropped,” he said.

Moreland City Council

Located in the inner north of Melbourne, Moreland City Council is at the precipice of Melbourne’s development boom.

Confronted with large scale development and a community push back, Moreland Council partnered with Kasa Digital to improve its relationship with the community on developments.

“Residents of Moreland City Council weren’t overly confident in that council being overdeveloped and were a bit in the dark over what was happening,” Mr Eugenio said.”

With council dealing with the pointier edge of the development process, Mr Eugenio said they needed a way to placate community concerns and help citizens better understand the impact of developments.

“Moreland’s idea was to visualise an entire municipality and in doing so allow the insertion of 3D models into a virtual Moreland.”

Just months into the project, Mr Eugenio says the response from the community has been largely positive, noting an increase in trust and community satisfaction, and says there are plans for a public launch.

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