Urban95 Virtual Reality

Cities can be wonderful places to grow up but during the first years of life, the quality of urban environments significantly affect a child’s lifelong health and development. Opportunities for play, exploration and nurturing interactions in safe and vibrant public places are critical for healthy brain development. But living in a city can also pose many dangers for young children, toddlers generally don’t tell us that the streets are too dusty, when they feel ill from pollution or when the cars too invasive.

So, together with Arup, we have developed a virtual reality experience from the perspective of a 3-year-old so that cities are seen through their eyes before decisions are made.

What is the virtual reality (VR) experience?

As part of our Urban95 programme, the VR tool aims to inspire city leaders, planners, architects and innovators to design and develop cities with their youngest inhabitants and caregivers in mind.

In collaboration with Arup’s virtual and visualisation team, we have created an immersive experience that looks, sounds and feels like a city, all from 95cm tall. At the average height of a 3-year-old, users can explore the urban realm at their own pace and gain first-hand insights into how toddlers might perceive and interact with their urban environments.

In three different scenarios of the same imaginary street – you will explore both the dangers and the delights young children may encounter depending on whether a city is designed with the needs of young children and caregivers in mind.

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Carstairs/Arup

Experience it for yourself

Do you have a VR headset available and would like to have the Urban95 experience at home or share it with others at an event? Would you like us to bring the Urban95 VR experience to your event? Contact our Urban95 expert, Victoria victoria.chavezbarriga@bvleerf.nl, for details.

“Virtual reality tools have the potential to increase empathy and understanding among designers, planners, and stakeholders, leading to more thoughtful and inclusive designs that better serve the needs of young children and their caregivers in urban environments.” ~ Victoria Chavez Barriga, Urban95 Expert at the Bernard van Leer Foundation

What happens when a child explores our virtual reality?

What happens when an adult explores our virtual reality?