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Seeing the Future

What will it look like? Will it blend in? In the architect’s world, renderings show the proposed site after construction. Some are so detailed they are photographic in realization of the future. Now companies are developing AR (augmented reality) applications to do that job in real photorealism.

inCitu is a New York City-based company that shows interested parties future physical developments via AR. The company enables public-facing AR visualizations of proposed and upcoming development projects and counts cities, real estate developers, technology companies, and other stakeholders as their future customers.

Facing climate change, severe housing shortage, public health threats, mass urbanization, and major geo-political shifts, cities worldwide must adapt fast and effectively, but most depend on obsolete systems, preventing equity in the design and decision-making process, leading to a lack of trust, collaboration and inclusivity amongst residents and industry professionals. That’s where AR can come in.

inCitu allows anyone to see and explore how the built environment is changing around them, in real scale, in-situ. They turn massive piles of messy, archaic data into informative, accurate visualizations of future skylines and buildings, and can provide that data to technology companies as well. Obsessed with lowering the barriers for city dwellers to access city planning information, all inCitu’s content, from individual buildings, affordable housing, mixed use developments, through parks and bridges and to complete neighborhood rezoning and regional infrastructure, are available via mobile-AR, with no headsets or special devices required.

The company recently achieved a huge milestone of reaching more than 100K residents with a real under-review Midtown Manhattan development proposal shared in AR, making it the most visible planning proposal in the history of the city’s planning agency.

Another project inCitu recently launched, in partnership with Snap and the Annenberg Foundation, is the world’s largest Wildlife Crossing coming in 2025 in California to repair the damage made by highway 101 to the local habitat and is now accessible in AR to all neighbors and visitors throughout its construction.

inCitu has attracted attention and funding. A $1million investment from Schmidt Futures, the philanthropic initiative of Eric and Wendy Schmidt, in addition to another $1million from other notable investors shows the company and its AR approach has traction.

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