The study examines the process of visualization in planning and how it is being used as a mean to communicate information. With several ways to visualize it is important to be fully aware of the choices being made in the process of making a visualization. This awareness applies to the method of presentation, the tools being used and the actual purpose of the visualization. The study also considers the ethics and legislation of visualization in planning processes.
To determine which methods of visualization that are best suited to convey different information, two types of surveys were conducted. The first survey was a nationwide survey and sought to find out how visualization is being used by planners in Norway today. The second survey was conducted in the virtual reality laboratory at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (UMB) and sought to find out how three different methods of visualization is being understood and experienced. The case of the survey is the project "Campus Ås, Samlokaliseringsprosjektet".
The findings shows that the most engaging and best understood method to convey information is by using 3d-visualizations. Despite the fact that maps, floor plans, sections, elevations and BIM-models can prove to be less engaging and understandable, the findings indicates that the use of mixed methods can provide a better overall understanding of a project.
The study also shows that there might exist some naivety among recipients of visualizations. This opens for a discussion regarding an introduction of ethical guidelines or regulations. However it cannot be concluded in this study that there is a need for such measures, but the findings indicates that the existing legislation is outdated in terms of visualization in planning processes. Study is available for download from here (PDF, 11mb)