Extended Reality for Planning

PAS QuickNotes 98

By Jennifer Mendez


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Since the late 1960s, the idea of making digital information, such as virtual buildings, visible within the landscape of the physical world has been at best an aspiration. However, mobile technology advances in recent decades have transformed this aspiration into reality.

With the current refinements in extended reality (XR) hardware and software, planners can now access a range of tools that shifts planning visualization into an immersive experience. Planners no longer must rely on 2D images to provide information about projects and initiatives. Now, XR tools can provide planners with richer ways to convey the nuances of space and place that often determine the success or failures of projects in communities.

This edition of PAS QuickNotes explores the ways in which planners can use XR for many different aspects of planning work. Visualizations with real-world context, community engagement with vulnerable populations, and planning scenario design are just the beginning. With XR, planners can effectively use virtual technologies to improve the real world.


Page Count
Date Published
March 1, 2022
Adobe PDF
American Planning Association

About the Author

Jennifer Mendez
Jennifer Mendez is a UX Researcher, Urban Experiences, at Esri, where she focuses on community engagement and collaboration using extended reality (XR) modalities, informed by qualitative GIS. Her areas of research include the intersection of education, conservation, defense and public safety, and urban planning with human-centered computing.