Augmented Co-Creation for Public Spaces


Tobias Matter


The participatory inclusion of various stakeholders (society, politics, economy, and especially local communities) in urban planning and neighborhood development is considered to have great added value. In addition to classic formats of analog citizen participation, new forms of digital participation have become established, which are initiated both top-down by players from urban administration and politics as well as bottom-up by players from civil society. Participatory and urban planning processes should, in the best case, promote the joy of spatial design. Therefore, we need to find approaches that better enable such meaningful exchange, curiosity and empathy.

Augmented reality (AR) offers great potential as a visual tool to engage and encourage participation in shaping public spaces. The combination of AR with the smartphone and tablet creates new and accessible design and artistic possibilities in spatial development. AR allows the combination of physical reality with digital content and thus enables hybrid and spatial experiences.

On the one hand, AR visualizations have the potential to visually close the abstraction gap between planning (plans, visualizations, diagrams) and implementation (space, material, function). On the other hand, AR offers a promising opportunity to encourage more (and different) people (especially younger ones) to actively participate in planning and participation processes in a vivid way with an extended virtual method setting. 

In this hands-on workshop we will collaboratively create spatial interventions using AR. Together we will be able to try out and discuss the participatory and artistic potential of Augmented Reality from our own experience.




Tobias Matter works as senior research associate in the Visual Narrative research group and as project coordinator of the Smart Region Central Switzerland of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts. He is doing his PhD at the CityScienceLab of HafenCity University in Hamburg.


In his design and research work, he focuses mainly on the analog-digital interface. He is particularly interested in the possibilities and potentials of augmented reality, mostly linked to mobile use, exploring new forms of participatory processes and narrative experience in physical space.