Augmenting Space: The role of immersive technologies in future cities

Guest Editors


• Callum Parker, The University of Sydney, Australia

• Soojeong Yoo, The University of Sydney, Australia

• Waldemar Jenek, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

• Youngho Lee, Mokpo National University, South Korea



Important dates


• Deadline: July 15, 2020 -> September 2, 2020 (extended)
• Notification to the authors:  October 15, 2020
• Camera ready paper: November 10, 2020
• Publication of the special issue: end of November, 2020




As digital technologies are advancing, contemporary interactions within cities are beginning to emerge. These interactions are commonly enabled through sensors to implicitly automate manual processes, such as turning on lights or walking up stairs. However, cities were not necessarily built from the ground up to be smart, rather they are gradually becoming smarter over time as technology becomes more extensible and embedded within them [5]. These digital technologies create information layers that exist over the physical space, resulting in the space being filled with dynamically changing information, thus augmenting the space [13]. Augmented reality (AR) is one such technology that has recently seen a lot of development in this area and is only now starting to become more viable as hardware and computer vision algorithms have caught up. Films such as Minority Report (2002), Ghost in the Shell (2016), and Blade Runner (2017) have predicted AR’s future emergence in public spaces and cities [2, 10, 7]. These films featured AR advertising and information holograms in public spaces, enabled by smart contact lenses and holograms. Currently however, AR has been introduced to public spaces in a number of interesting ways.  For instance, Pokemon GO became a global phenomenon which resulted in people physically playing the game in urban spaces and caused ripple effects on the physical spaces people were playing in [1, 4, 3]. Recent work has also shown that AR can have more engaging applications, in areas such as community engagement [6], personalised digital signage [16], in-situ visualisations [11], cultural heritage [14], and remote collaboration [12, 9].

On a consumer level, AR is most common on smartphones, particularly after the release of ARKit and ARCore - improving the functionality. AR smart glasses are also becoming more accessible and bring with them the possibility of more natural integration of virtual content into our daily lives. For instance, the Microsoft Hololens contains an array of sensor technologies giving it a sense of depth which allows it to place objects naturally in physical space. It has been successfully applied by planners to visualise underlying parts of the city in-situ [8, 17].

While AR is becoming more advanced, accessible, and has demonstrated potential, more knowledge is needed around the key benefits it will bring to cities and how it will change our interactions with the urban environment. Additionally, the use of such technologies raises the question of how the virtual and physical spaces can co-exist - creating an augmented space [13].

Therefore, this focus section builds on from our initial workshops [15] with the goal of bringing together researchers to explore the applications of AR and other immersive technologies, such as Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR), within the context of enhancing architecture, public spaces and cities. 


Topics of Interest


We welcome research focused on engaging experiences using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) within the context of enhancing architecture, public spaces and cities. Specific topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Augmenting humans in future cities
  • Digital heritage and preservation
  • Speculative designs, design fictions, and art projects
  • Perspectives from literature
  • How immersive technologies and applications can be utilised to enhance existing urban infrastructure/technologies (public displays, media facades, buildings, town squares, etc)
  • Remote collaboration
  • The effect of immersive technologies on culture and behaviour in cities
  • Smart cities with digital twin technologies



[1]        Adlakha, D., Marquet, O., Hipp, J. A., and Tully, M. A. Pokemon go or pokemon gone:  How can cities respond to trends in technology linking people and space? Cities & Health 1, 1 (2017), 89–94.

[2]        Arthur, C. Why minority report was spot on, 2010.

[3]        Boulos, M. N. K., Lu, Z., Guerrero, P., Jennett, C., and Steed,

A.        From  urban  planning  and  emergency training  to  pokemon  go: appli- cations of virtual reality gis (vrgis) and augmented reality gis (argis) in personal, public and environmental health, 2017.

[4]        Colley, A., Thebault-Spieker, J., Lin, A. Y., Degraen, D., Fis- chman, B., Ha¨kkila¨, J., Kuehl, K., Nisi, V., Nunes, N. J., Wenig, N.,  et  al. The geography of pok´emon go:  beneficial and problematic ef- fects on places and movement. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (2017), ACM, pp. 1179–1192.

[5]        Dourish, P. The internet of urban things. Code and the City, Routledge, London (2016), 27–46.

[6]        Fredericks, J., Hespanhol, L., Parker, C., Zhou,  D., and  Tomitsch, M. Blending pop-up urbanism and participatory technolo- gies: Challenges and opportunities for inclusive city making. City, Culture and Society (2017).

[7]        Ghahramani, A. What “blade runner 2049” gets right (and wrong) about ar, 2017.

[8]        Hockett, P., and Ingleby, T. Augmented reality with hololens: Experiential architectures embedded in the real world. arXiv preprint arXiv:1610.04281 (2016).

[9]        Jenek, W. Architecture with immersive technologies: Next generation architects and clients.

[10]      Jones, E. How soon could ghost in the shell’s fantasy technology become a reality?, 2017.

[11]      Lee, G. A., Du¨nser, A., Kim, S., and Billinghurst, M.  Cityviewar: A mobile outdoor ar application for city visualization. In Mixed and Aug- mented Reality (ISMAR-AMH), 2012 IEEE International Symposium on (2012), IEEE, pp. 57–64.

[12]      Lee, Y., Masai, K., Kunze, K., Sugimoto, M., and Billinghurst,

M. A remote collaboration system with empathy glasses. In 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Mixed and Augmented Reality (ISMAR-Adjunct) (Sep. 2016), pp. 342–343.

[13]      Manovich,  L.  The poetics  of  augmented  space.  Visual  Communication 5, 2 (2006), 219–240.

[14]      Park, H., Kim, E., Kim, H., Shin, J.-e., Kim, J., Kim, K., and Woo,

W. K-culture time machine: A mobile ar experience platform for korean cultural heritage sites. In  International  Conference  on Human  Interface and the Management of Information (2018), Springer, pp. 167–180.

[15]      Parker, C., Jenek, W., Yoo, S., and Lee, Y. Augmenting cities and architecture with immersive technologies. In Proceedings of the 4th Media Architecture Biennale Conference (2018), ACM, pp. 174–177.

[16]      Parker, C., Kay, J., Baldauf, M., and Tomitsch, M. Design im- plications for interacting with personalised public displays through mobile augmented reality. In Proceedings of the 5th ACM International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (2016), ACM, pp. 52–58.

[17]      Zhang, L., Chen, S., Dong, H., and El Saddik, A. Visualizing toronto city data with hololens: Using augmented reality for a city model. IEEE Consumer Electronics Magazine 7, 3 (2018), 73–80.

Zimmerman, B. J. (2002). Becoming a self-regulated learner: An overview. Theory into practice41(2), 64-70. DOI: 10.1207/s15430421tip4102_2  





Submission procedure 


All submissions must be original and may not be under review by another publication.

The manuscripts should be submitted anonymized either in .doc or in .rtf format. 
All papers will be blindly peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. Perspective participants are invited to submit a 8-20 pages paper (including authors' information, abstract, all tables, figures, references, etc.). 
The paper should be written according to the IxD&A authors' guidelines .

Submission page -> link
(when submitting the paper please choose the section: 'FS: Augmenting Space: The role of immersive technologies in future cities')

For scientific advices and for any query please contact the guest-editor:


• callum [dot] parker [at] sydney [dot] edu [dot] au

• soojeong [dot] yoo [at] sydney [dot] edu [dot] au

• youngho [at] ce [dot] mokpo [dot] ac [dot] kr

• waldemar [dot] jenek [at] hdr [dot] qut [dot] edu [dot] au


marking the subject as: 'IxD&A focus section on Augmenting Space: The role of immersive technologies in future cities'.