Cities are about to get an AR facelift

Cities prepare for the rise of AR

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The Future. Incoming AR devices and real-world metaverse technologies will require cities to think about balancing cultural opportunities with public safety. It’s a massive undertaking, but city governments may find the best path forward is partnering early with tech companies on guardrails and pushing for universal standards to best roll out the inevitable digital makeover.

Signs & visions
Greg Lindsay, an urban tech fellow at Cornell, believes the time is now for cities to start thinking about how to integrate and regulate AR in public spaces.

  • Questions of privacy and property rights are at the forefront — what rights do real-world locations have in policing the digital content anchored to them?
  • There’s also the question of safety — when Pokémon GO was released in 2016, up to 30,000 people were possibly injured due to distracted driving within the first five months.
  • But AR also presents an opportunity for cities to revitalize tourism, giving landmarks new life as digital destinations tied to games or other experiences.
  • And with the possibility to multiply advertising opportunities, cities could roll out digital billboards to drive revenue.

With Apple’s Vision Pro headset on the way, Snap rebooting as an AR company, and Google and Nvidia creating software that overlays digital projections on real locations, cities don’t have the luxury of waiting any longer to create a framework.

David Vendrell

Born and raised a stone’s-throw away from the Everglades, David left the Florida swamp for the California desert. Over-caffeinated, he stares at his computer too long either writing the TFP newsletter or screenplays. He is repped by Anonymous Content.


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