The Environmental Simulation Center offers the application of multidimensional, digital, place-based decision-support software such as GIS and Community Viz in creating interactive visualizations of cities, towns, and landscapes.
The Environmental Simulation Center pursues planning and design initiatives “in an information rich, interactive, visually compelling digital environment that enables open and informed, democratic decision-making.” ESC’s focus on place- and performance-based planning reveals itself in their technical services, tools, and projects; ESC assigns just as much importance to the environmental specifics of a planning site as to the goals and intentions of any particular initiative.
ESC has worked on the development of various digital decision-making support tools, many of which focus on 3D visualization and interactive, experiential models of towns and landscapes. The design and development of Community Viz, “the world's first multidimensional place-based decision-support software,” was actually headed by ESC.
Using sophisticated computer graphics and simulation technologies, the Environmental Simulation Center (ESC) can simulate realistic images and experiences of hypothetical situations and projects, such as alterations to historic districts, proposed skyscrapers, new parklands, neighborhood plans, zoning amendments, and proposed transportation schemes. This interactive representation aids large cities and small townships alike in visualizing their communities and making informed assessments of regulatory approaches. Viewers can "walk" or even "drive" through simulated cities and towns and experience projects as if it they were built, allowing a close assessment of the project's merits and failings. All of the findings are made available to the public. This allows all parties to participate equally in the decision-making process, and enhances the level of public debate in the planning and design of the built environment.