This 78 foot AR model of Tokyo is like a real life Cities: Skylines map

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

Over at the Tokyo Mori Building, this sprawling Urban Lab project (via TechExplore) is a permanent, ever changing, 1:1,000 scale model of Tokyo, complete with superimposed augmented reality layers. It’s essentially a true-to-life model with Cities: Skylines’ overlays.

I wanna go check it out for the pro traffic management ideas—check out those ring roads and roundabouts—but this things does a whole lot more than just display road layouts, and let tourists snap pics of a mini Tokyo Tower.

The diorama’s AR projection mapping feature, along with its synchronous background displays, provides information that goes above and beyond just the intersection of highways and railways. It outlines business and population densities, and even includes a timeline of how the coastline has changed over the years.

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

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Screenshots of the Urban Lab AR Tokyo project

(Image credit: The Japan Times)

With different combinations of overlays, the interactive diorama gives researchers and developers an in-depth look at which areas are most prone to flooding, among other potentially avoidable natural disasters. By visualising data in this way, they can get a better idea of where and how development should occur, so they can plan to minimise the impact of such incidents.

This 78 foot model was first unveiled back in 2019 and covers 13 of the 23 districts that make up the city of Tokyo—that’s 143 square miles of cityscape—and is on display alongside a scale model of New York for reference. Each year these installations grow and change along with the cities they represent, making them living models. Each year as these cities adapt, photographs of new urban developments are studied, and designers come together with Styrofoam and scalpels to update the models.

Projects like this feed urban development programs, arming them with knowledge that not only contributes to more efficient cities of the future, but also helps to save lives. Here’s hoping we see more awesome projects like this popping up as we move into a more tech-reliant future.

Katie is a confessed logophile with a love of metaphor and an insatiable creative urge. She’s also an RPG, sim and survival game enthusiast who harbours an overt disdain for MMOs, un-managed cables and software that doesn’t include a dark mode.

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