In urban planning, the urban environment is a very complicated system with many layers of building codes cross-referenced and interacting together to guide urban growth. Especially, if a new urban design is located in a historical area, additional restrictions will be imposed upon regular zoning regulations to maintain the area's historical characteristics. Often, urban regulations read as text are difficult to understand. A tool that generates adequate urban information and a quick visualization of the design will ease decision making and enhance urban design processes. The goal of this research project is to develop a virtual reality (VR) tool with high resolution, speedy computation, and a user-friendly environment.
This project initiates an interactive visualization tool to enforce city planning regulations on viewing access to the state capitol building in Des Moines, Iowa. The capitol building houses the Iowa Legislature and is a symbol of state power. Maintaining the view from surrounding areas will preserve the building's monumental and symbolic meaning. To accomplish this, the City Community Development Department and the Capitol Planning Committee developed a Capitol View Corridor Project, which sets up seven visual corridors to prevent the view toward the capitol from being blocked by any future designs. Because city regulations are not easy for the public and designers to interpret and comprehend, this project intends to develop a VR tool to create a transparent environment for visualizing the city ordinances.