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Enhancing “boundary work” through the use of virtual reality: exploring the potential within landscape and visual impact assessment

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Neil Adrian Powe


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Previous research suggests a common mismatch between visual expectations and development outcomes. Is this merely a problem of poor translation of expert knowledge? Or does it also relate more broadly to the use of visualisations within practice? This paper explores the potential for virtual reality (VR) to alleviate such concerns within the formal process of landscape and visual impact assessment (LVIA). Drawing from literature on science/policy interactions, VR can be regarded as an object potentially facilitating “boundary work” between various actors and hopefully helping to better match visual expectations to development outcomes. Viewed through this lens, VR may enhance the translation of expert knowledge into policy arenas and have agency to encourage improved communication and negotiation between the various actors involved. The views of landscape practitioners suggest VR has potential to facilitate such improved “boundary work”, but only if there is a focus on credibility and legitimacy. Such a focus may limit the salience of VR to LVIA. Despite the challenges of implementation, it is argued enhancing “boundary work” should be a key focus within future visualisation research.

Publication metadata

Author(s): An K, Powe NA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning

Year: 2015

Volume: 17

Issue: 5

Pages: 673-690

Print publication date: 01/10/2015

Online publication date: 24/02/2015

Acceptance date: 01/01/1900

ISSN (print): 1523-908X

ISSN (electronic): 1522-7200

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/1523908X.2015.1012757


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