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Digital Commons: The Role of Immersive Digital Twin and Gamification Technologies in Intergenerational Co-design of Public Spaces

School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Digital Common(s) is a system design study that targets interdisciplinary and intergenerational design communication. It integrates 3D-modelling, Virtual Reality (VR) and video-gaming tools as interactive and immersive digital twins, and brings them to local communities in public housing as cooperative spatial design tools. A series of socially engaging co-creation activities are designed into the VR environment, in which public actors, designers, and citizens collectively reflect on and design public spaces. The project aims to give agency to everyday knowledge and preempt social disputes during rapid urban development by engaging different stakeholders, promoting empathy and mutual understanding, mediated by gamified communication. Public spaces are extensions of the domestic realm to compensate for the limited living space in high-density cities. This study targets the double ageing problem - both the facilities and its users are getting older. The facilities that were designed for the lifestyle expectations of the 1960s-80s can no longer facilitate the accessibility and inclusivity needs of an older demographic and the aspirations of today’s youth, calling for an intergenerational approach to design. VR gamification may enhance the use of digital twins through 3D interactivity, social engagement, and bottom-up perspectives; making it available as a public communication tool between younger and older generations, across new and traditional establishments. The ongoing outcomes of the study are encouraging and demonstrate how older adults are not passive receivers of architectural aid and services, but can actively contribute to a body of knowledge on human-centric design and sense of belonging within urban development.
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