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PLANNAR: Co-Visioning with AR

Plannar is a mobile AR approach to cultivating a generative urbanism, specifically mobilizing long-term residents of Chinatown, Los Angeles to participate in the visioning of their neighborhood through the placement and “hearting” of literal and symbolic virtual objects around the neighborhood.
Conceptual Design, Research, UI/UX, Visual Design, Coded Prototyping, 3D Assets, Motion Design, Video Editing, Community Outreach
Unity 3D, Rhino 3D, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch

This project arises from my discontent with community engagement strategies typically used in master planning, where conventional visioning methods entail brief workshops with only a few residents and use their participation as a proxy for consensus. In contrast, PLANNAR facilitates the generation of many site-and time-specific visions for the future, asserting bottom-up model of urban planning. Rather than ask residents to show up at a workshop, PLANNAR leverages what residents are already doing--walking around and using social media. In so doing, I propose that virtual space is new territory for meaningful public participation.


The platform’s playful and resonant AR object language expresses cultural values and preferences through the use of emoji’s, symbolic objects, or ‘literal’ virtual objects. Residents collectively create and evaluate and a shared set of neighborhood visions through weekly “Play Walks.”

Key Features
During a week of generative urban play, residents can:
  1. View objects from multiple perspectives (not just literal vantage points, but others’ perspectives)
  2. Live with the objects over time and notice their simulated changes in context (i.e. a tree that grows or shifts with season)
  3. Learn the cultural significance of objects requested by different groups in the community
  4. Form new social connections, whether creating relationships with strangers over a shared idea, concern, or simply being silly and imagining these futures with others in them
  5. Be informed of the visioning discussion by reviewing weekly recaps, going back in time to see top highlights like most placed objects, most “liked” visions, resident feedback or requests for objects



Geo-Fenced Hearting Privileging Long-Term Residents
There’s a difference in the set of actions that residents, visitors and commuters can perform on the platform. While anyone can view visioning activity on a map and in the different locations in the neighborhood, only residents are allowed to “heart” or “dislike” visions, giving them power to have final say in what objects are featured in the next round of “Play Walks.” This feature prevents passive participation or astroturfing and enables ideologies and preferences of long-term residents to be integrated in the system before those of newer residents’, thereby slowing down the ways in which technology colonizes the urban environment.  

With greater adherence of AR as a common language among residents coupled with greater technological progress in the AR cloud and spatial mapping, Plannar proposes that these objects-as-preferred-visions be used as data points to inform urban development policy recommendations, creating counter blueprints to today’s mixed use development trends and foreground the local imagination and ways of knowing.


@Pasadena Convention Center

^ Magical moment