It can be nearly impossible to get people to take action on big issues like racism or climate change – until it affects them directly. Looking at fuzzy satellite photos and trying to imagine what will happen when the sea level rises isn't very interesting or exciting for most people.
But in recent years, a perfect storm of technological advancement and design know-how has created an opportunity for us to create simulations that allow people to actually feel what it's like to be in a wildfire or flood. And that's a game-changer for communities. By combining the latest virtual reality tools and drone technologies, Dr. Juliano Calil and his team at Virtual Planet Technologies are creating 360 VR stories that allow planners, politicians and the public to experience potential future scenarios and test out possible solutions.
In this episode of the podcast, Juliano shares the story of his work with several communities across North America as they try to figure out how to respond to the predicted impacts of climate change. He describes the "punch in the gut" he felt when he first saw a real neighbourhood flood from sea level rise in VR, and shares the surprise response of community members when they see themselves in his stories.
He also talks about the challenges of this kind of future storytelling, bringing an equity and justice lens to climate adaptation planning, as we start to realize the implications for those who may lose their homes, their livelihoods and their family histories in the coming decades.
3D, VR and drone technologies have historically been a bit too awkward and expensive for municipalities to consider in public engagement work. But recent breakthroughs in the tools themselves, combined with Juliano's extensive expertise in this field are finally putting these kinds of simulations within reach of local governments and environmental NGOs.
To find out more or see Juliano's latest production, "Wildfire Explorer", be sure to check out Virtual Planet Technologies.
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