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By : Mark Lindquist

This paper examines the impact of a citizen initiated public participation process on preparers and presenters of digital visualizations for spatial design decision making. Visualization for public participation enables communication between professionals and laypeople to occur with far greater success than through conventional methods. Further, visualization utilizing real-time immersive technology allows for far more effective communication of the spatial impact of design proposals than conventional media offer, facilitating negotiation and interaction with space by providing the means to virtually walk around a digital model. In addition, the effectiveness of real-time immersive visualization in bridging the public-professional communication gap can empower the public, offering the opportunity to confront professionals and to force engagement in a process of public participation on the public's terms. Through discussion of a case study from the University of Toronto's Centre for Landscape Research (CLR), this paper examines the impact on the visualization process when the public are able to invert the conventional model of public participation by initiating the dialogue with professionals. This paper argues that a citizen initiated public participation process increases the necessity for a sound methodology and code of ethics of visualization for public participation. When the public are able to utilize technology to invert the conventional public-professional role, issues of validity, reliability and ethics are placed at the forefront of the discussion greatly increasing the scrutiny placed on both the technology and those preparing and presenting the visualization.
Keywords : Visualization; Ethics; Computer Graphics, Simulation Validity, Decision Support.

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