To understand how planning systems seek, one has to read something known as a planning appeal. Sadly, a lot of people struggle trying to balance the visual effects of development with other impacts both bad and good.
Visual appearance is often a point of contention when new development is being discussed. Achieving the image of proposed developments that people will deem realistic is essential for those considering their merits. Read more about verified views for planning, their importance and how they are achieved.
Not all people can interpret the sections, elevations, and plans illustrating the technical aspects of development.
Images showing a proposal accurately within a setting, however, can immensely assist the interpretation of the subject matter by both laypeople and professionals. Designers may also benefit from accurate visualizations of development from the early stages of the process as it can help define appropriate development parameters like massing and height and material selection.
However, how does one get images that are trustworthy and credible and that are as close as it’s possible to get to what they look like in real life?
Real World Imagery: Understanding Verified Views
Advancements in technology are giving built-environment professionals a range of visualization tools, and some of them are extremely exciting.
Virtual reality and 3D-Printing, for instance, could change how the public engages with consultation. However, a lot of organizations rely on static representations, computer-generated imagery (CGI), drawings and photographs, and are likely to continue doing so.
But computer-generated imagery artist impressions tend to serve a more marketing-oriented purpose than a technical one. We’ll often see them within consultation or sales publications depicting yet-to-be-built proposals in the best and most idealized manner.
“Verified views” are verifiable images. This is views that are created from definite real locations and not from imagined perspectives.
Verified views, however, are, as their name suggests, verifiable images. Their view is created from exact locations and is not from imagined perspectives. This approach uses a model of verifiable visual info and incorporates photographic aspects using accurate CAD 3D representations of the proposal to a certain level of agreed detailing.
It relies on quantifiable data, conforms to technical guidance (Check Technical Guidance) and significantly, represents a consensus around what’s realistic. As such, it may be used to inspect work without authenticity being questioned.
Verified views are especially valuable when it comes to planning. For instance, it can be used as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process at public inquiries, in public consultation, and planning committees.
In each case, the aim is to establish realistic expectations of what development will eventually look like and the kind of impact (physical) it’ll have. At a critical level, this may instil trust between developers, planners and the public, enabling genuinely useful amendment and feedback.
The aim is to establish realistic expectations of what development will eventually look like.
However, the use of wrong types of visualization that don’t accurately represent proposed developments can hurt planning outcomes primarily by undermining trust and leading to resentment and disappointment that’s carried over to future developments.
Today’s technology is making the preparation of high-quality animations cost-effective, and augmented and virtual reality are both being used as part of modern design development processes.
Most of the information needed to produce verified views are now more routinely available to development planning teams, and that includes 3D CAD models of development proposals and accurate site mapping and survey. This can be supplemented with quality photography that has been taken to exact standards.
The timescale and cost to produce verified views will depend on the complexity of the development proposal, the number of accurate details required, the number of views needed, and the amount of information that is available from the client. Any timescales and costs involved in the preparation of a verified view have to be weighed up against the pros of producing it.
The Future of Visualization
When thinking about the future of visualization, it is worth noting that it’s already here in a way.
Technology today is making the creation of high-quality animations much more affordable and augmented and virtual realities are now, more than ever, a part of the design development process.
Future decisions on how they’ll be used will still be determined by project budgets and programmes, and deciding which types of visual representation are appropriate to the expectations of audiences and to the project stages.
The limit to how they can use may also be determined by the protocols and abilities of statutory planning authorities, and other groups, to receive, view and store.
It is worth keeping in mind that the process is, in a sense, a means to an end and that is to inform decision making processes and, in the long run, to determine that which is physically built.