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Title: 3D landscape visualization on mobile devices for participatory planning and design : a comparison of off-site versus on-site engagement
Author: Bilge, Gulsah
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 4643
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2018
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This research combines landscape visualization and public participation, testing the potential of mobile devices displaying a 3D visualization of future design proposals to enhance public participation. On-site and off-site perceptions of users are compared, and the appeal of mobile devices is demonstrated through studies undertaken at the location of the case study area: Edward Street, Sheffield (UK). Landscape visualizations have long been used as a tool to facilitate public participation in forms of maps, drawing, images or physical models. Participatory planning and design seeks the active involvement of stakeholders and focuses on users' feedback and input, considering their needs, concerns and demands. It helps with harmonizing views and prevents conflict by allowing stakeholders to discuss and negotiate ideas. It also provides an opportunity for marginalized groups to take part in these processes, though it does not always function as planned. Engaging citizens can be a substantial problem, especially when communication between the affected parties is compromised. Technological improvements in computer and mobile device platforms have opened new doors for landscape visualizations and their use during participatory approaches. Mobile technology has begun to be used for landscape visualizations thanks to its ubiquity, portability and context-awareness. This thesis investigates the use of mobile devices as a participatory design tool and how their on-site and off-site use affects understanding and perception with actual users during the participatory planning and design processes. Three research questions guide this research. The main aim is using the mobile devices as a design tool and comparing on-site and off-site use of 3D visualizations on mobile devices. So the first research question posed is: does the level of accuracy of 3D visualization on mobile devices affect the understanding of participants? To answer that question, a preparatory study has been conducted on-site with two experiments, using mobile devices to display a walkthrough video of a 3D visualization of Edward Street Park, Sheffield, UK with different levels of accuracy within the context of a VALUE+ Project. Actual users' responses have been examined for understanding and perception and the effects of users' characteristics. The second research question is: can mobile devices as a design tool help in engaging the public to identify problems and bring solutions when used in participatory design process? Participants were asked to make sketches using an iPad as a design tool for solution(s) to the problems they identified. The drawings have been analysed for frequency and variety in order to identify the needs, and the to prepare 3D visualizations with design proposals to test mobile device use on-site and off-site. Visualizations have been used during the process of answering the final and main question: how does the on-site and offsite use of mobile devices affect perception and understanding of participants? To answer the research questions preparatory experiments (only on-site), one-to-one consultation sessions and finally a questionnaire were conducted both on-site and off-site. The results indicate that perception and understanding are affected by different levels of accuracy on 3D visualizations. Understanding of spatial representation and perception are enhanced by more accurate 3D mobile device visualization, even for people who are not familiar with the site. The results have provided evidence that for on-site users, accurate representation of 3D visualizations is essential, especially for younger generations. It appears that using the mobile devices as a participatory design tool have a high potential to engage people both on-site and off-site, allowing active involvement with a higher level of participation during planning and design processes. Viewing proposed changes on a mobile device on-site and off-site: understanding was not affected, yet there was a significant difference in perception between the two groups. Even though both on-site and off-site use has their own advantages and disadvantages, evidence is provided that 'on-site' and 'offsite' users perceive the environment more accurately than 'off-site' users.
Supervisor: Lange, Eckart ; Schroth, Olaf Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available