Planning the future for the City of Lake Macquarie

Aimed to inspire residents and get them thinking about how they want the City to look, feel and function in the future, Lake Macquarie City Council has created some futuristic scenarios, using virtual reality (VR) technology.
 
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Councillor Jodie Harrison, said while the VR environments are for fun, rather than real proposals for the future, they set the scene for envisioning big ideas about what is possible for the City.
 
“The decisions we make and actions we take today, can impact on us tomorrow. That’s why we’re asking the Lake Macquarie community about what they value about our City now, and how they want it to look, feel and function into the future,” Cr Harrison said.
 
“For Council to continue to meet the needs of its residents, it needs to be continually planning for the future.
“Change is happening. Technology, population growth, demographic shifts, and economic pressures and opportunities are already influencing and shaping how we live.
 
“Over the next 12-18 months, Council and the community will collaborate to develop ways we can overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities, stemming from such change.
 
“The feedback and ideas we receive from the community will guide what Council does now and into the future – that’s why public participation is crucial.
“Collectively, residents’ input will influence Council’s approach to meeting the community’s current needs while ensuring intergenerational equity, and adaptability to social, economic and environmental trends.
“These will be articulated through a community vision for the City, including a set of values on which Council’s decision making framework will be based.
“The vision and values will then be translated into strategic directions and measurable actions as part of the City’s long, mid and annual plans.”
 
Cr Harrison said the VR simulations aim to inspire creative thinking by turning an abstract idea about the future into a tangible, expressive interpretation of how the City may look.
“The virtual reality simulations we’ve developed in partnership with local tech company Virtual Perspective, allow people to visualise authentic Lake Mac scenery, but with some seemingly real changes to the city and landscapes.
“The aim of doing this is to generate interest in the project, but to also make the future somewhat tangible, in order to have robust and in-depth conversations about how people want their future in the City to be.”
 
While virtual reality technology has been around for some time, it is a tool that is beginning to shift how organisations communicate and express ideas. When the user engages with the technology, they find themselves in a virtual replica of areas around the City, and are able to look up, down and all around ‘inside’ of that world.
Using 3D graphics and 3D terrain maps, the transformed cityscapes are integrated into the photographic imagery, to give a seemingly real-life experience of what the City may look like in the future.
 
Go to www.shapeyourfuture.net.au to see the online version of the visual simulations and to participate in shaping the future of Lake Macquarie City.