Through the use of virtual reality as tool for research, teaching, and training on neighbourhood planning, this project, which was funded by SHLC’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund, promotes lifelong learning by making experiential learning accessible not just to academics but to communities, stakeholders, and those who are involved in planning and decision-making at the grassroots level.

Planning is largely spatial and can rely heavily on the visualization of a particular area. Maps, pictures, and videos may capture the actual situation on the ground, these are rather top-down methods. By using virtual and augmented reality tools, multiple ideas on how to rebuild and resolve conflicts in war-torn neighbourhoods, like Marawi city in the Philippines, can be considered.

Stakeholders will be able to visualise the war-torn streets and be presented with several scenarios. This will allow for a more engaging experience that will ultimately benefit the development of the city post-conflict. It is hoped that the methods used in this project can be applied across other post-conflict cities worldwide.

Marawi city, the Philippines. Credit: Flickr, Bongbong Marcos
Marawi city, the Philippines. Credit: Flickr, Bongbong Marcos

The overall aim of the project is to develop and pilot a planning and research tool based on virtual reality in Marawi City that will:

  • provide a more visual image of the neighbourhoods and their respective conditions and interests;
  • allow users to experience “being” in the area to help them have a “virtual” feel of the neighbourhoods and come up with appropriate planning scenarios and proposals to rebuild, rehabilitate, and reconstruct their neighbourhoods;
  • allow neighbourhood stakeholders to have a better appreciation and give necessary inputs to the proposed development interventions; and,
  • allow neighbourhood stakeholders see their ideas included and visually translated into (virtual) reality enhancing shared ownership of the plan.

Project Outputs

The project was led by Mario R. Delos Reyes from the University of Philippines/ UPMDR Management Consultancy and Mark Anthony M. Gamboa, University of Philippines.

This research project ‘Planning for Post-Conflict Cities: Virtual Reality for Urban Planning and Research towards Building Back a Sustainable, Healthy, and Learning Marawi City’ was funded by the Centre for Sustainable, Healthy and Learning Cities and Neighbourhoods (SHLC)’s Capacity Development Acceleration Fund. SHLC is funded via UK Research and Innovation as part of the UK Government’s Global Challenges Research Fund.