Turner, Susan, Turner, Phil, Carroll, Fiona, O'Neill, Shaleph, Benyon, David, McCall, Roderick and Smyth, Michael (2003) Recreating the Botanics: towards a sense of place in virtual environments. In: 3rd UK Conference of the Environmental Psychology Network, 2003 June, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. (Unpublished)
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The EC funded project BENOGO seeks to re-create real places using photo-realistic
immersive virtual reality technology and in so doing investigates the nature of
presence and sense of place in such environments. We discuss the first stages in our
work investigating how far a sense of place can be created in a virtual environment
and benchmarked against the real world. This paper reports early studies which
investigated sense of place in a real-world location – a glasshouse in a botanical
garden – and the first in a series of planned experiments with its virtual equivalent.
The results provide preliminary indications of which elements of sense of place
manage to penetrate the considerable constraints of the current virtual environment
and how the virtual experience might be redesigned in future. We also discuss
techniques for investigating sense of place in this context and briefly describe the next
steps in the work.
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