AR city planning is a threat to local communities and their identity

Adrien Book
3 min readJan 29, 2023

As a technology enthusiast, I was initially intrigued by Autodesk’s latest innovation: augmented reality city planning. However, after giving it more thought, I have become increasingly opposed to this technology and the impact it could have on our cities. The idea of using augmented reality to design and control the look and function of our cities may seem like a convenient solution, but the reality is much more complex and potentially concerning.

First and foremost, the implementation of augmented reality city planning raises serious ethical questions. As cities become increasingly designed and controlled by corporations, the role of elected officials and local communities in decision-making processes is diminished. This could lead to a lack of accountability and a disregard for the needs and wants of local residents. Urban planning expert and professor, Emily Talen, warns, “The use of technology in city planning can lead to the displacement of vulnerable populations and a disregard for the social, cultural, and historical context of a place.” This not only undermines the democratic process but also it also undermines the rights of local residents and communities.

Moreover, the use of augmented reality in city planning has the potential to perpetuate socio-economic inequality. As cities become more attractive to the wealthy, the cost of living and doing business in these areas will continue to rise, leading to the displacement of lower-income residents and small businesses. Economist and professor, Thomas Piketty, points out that “The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few corporations and individuals undermines the foundations of our democracy and perpetuates inequality.” The augmented reality city planning could further gentrify our cities, making them less accessible and less inclusive to a wider range of residents.

The philosophical implications of augmented reality city planning are also concerning. By allowing corporations to control the design and function of our cities, we are sacrificing our agency and autonomy. Philosopher and professor, Jürgen Habermas, warns that “The commodification of urban space undermines the public sphere and erodes the democratic process.” This can lead to a loss of control over our own environments and a…

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Adrien Book

Strategy Consultant | Tech writer | Somewhat French