This innovative project aims to develop an accessible augmented reality app in order to help foster constructive dialogue and shared future building between marginalized interface communities in Belfast. 

The app enables people to shape their present and future from the palm of their hands using AR technology. Its unique combination of realistic and imaginative 3D mapping and interactive comment system will allow community members to share ideas about how to improve where they live and work today as well shape what it will be tomorrow. This is an empowering tool for enhancing community collaboration and participatory governance locally and globally.

It is part of a pioneering effort to bring communities with histories of conflict together through principles of “communication, consultation, and cooperation”. The pilot project in Belfast was inspired by the desire to discover engaging ways to help interface populations still divided by “Peace Walls” to positively interact in order to collaboratively improve their communities. Through being able to imaginatively explore and comment upon a map of their current area and what it could look like in the future, this app provides an important new space for collectively empowering residents.

This project worked with two interface communities – Inner East/Short Strand and Divis/Townsend to help reimagine interfaces by using AR to “break down mental walls” for virtually – and eventually physically – uniting these communities historically divided by conflict. Specifically, the app allows users to:

  • Explore a 3D present and future map of their community, giving them the freedom to zoom in and “walk the streets” or zoom out and take a birds eye view of their area.
  • Share their views of the present and future scenarios as they explore the map, i.e. dragging the icon to post comments on any of the highlighted areas located throughout the maps
  • Collaborate with others from their community by reading and responding to each other’s comments. This creates an opportunity to redesign their future together as a community.

Lead contact Géraud de Ville (emailbio)

Partners

  • Location Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Project Partners University of Essex, Animorph Co-op, Belfast Interface Project
  • Funder Central Good Relations Fund 2019/20
  • Service provided Research, Project Delivery
  • Shared Futures App https://sharedfutures.app/