Enhancing User Experience through VR: Case of an Urban Agriculture Participatory Design Experiment

Poorang Piroozfar, Alex Judd, Simon Boseley, Andre Viljoen, Fadi Castronovo, Eric R.P. Farr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapterpeer-review


Virtual Reality has shown great potential when applied to the AEC industry. There are some less researched areas where VR can prove effective; among those are enhancing user experience and improving stakeholder participation. User participation in co-design of public and semi-public spaces has been advocated as a means to ensure wider community engagement and better project success. A series of different methodologies have been used to study urban agriculture. There is limited evidence of the application of VR to promote design participation in community projects and urban agriculture. With a wide range of proven capabilities and benefits, VR seems to be the next logical step to further progress community research for urban agriculture. This paper uses game engines to develop a Virtual Interaction Environment (VIE) to facilitate participation in urban agriculture beyond the existing boundaries of established methods. A critical review of literature was carried out to set the boundaries of this research, investigate the principles of participatory design and the user experience. The findings of the literature were used in combination with the outcomes of a “Map Walk” workshop with community participants to define a set of design variables to be incorporated in the design of the VR instrument for urban agriculture projects. The process of collecting the data in Map Walk, the development process of the VR experiment (the Alpha Build), the feedback loop from the VR experiment first run, the data verification and second stage of the VR experiment development (the Beta Build) and the second feedback loop are explained in this paper. The paper concludes with directions for future development in this area and for the use of VR in participatory community projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century (CITC 13)
EditorsS. M. Ahmed, S. Azhar, A. D. Saul, K. L. Mahaffy
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2023
Event13th International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century - HAN University of Applied Sciences, Arnhem, Netherlands
Duration: 8 May 20238 May 2023
Conference number: 13th


Conference13th International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century
Abbreviated titleCITC-13
Internet address


  • Virtual Reality
  • Urban Agriculture
  • Collaborative Design
  • User Experience
  • Map Walks


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