Public Spaces in the Metaverse, Will It Better Than the Real World?

Aryo Sumbogo | Thursday, 22 September 2022

Lately, many people talking about the Metaverse as the latest internet technology concept that has been developing for the past few years. This exploration of technology with artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), and augmented reality (AR) devices then affects almost all aspects of life, including architecture.

Illustration of public spaces in the Metaverse (Image courtesy of Eren Burak Kuru)Illustration of public spaces in the Metaverse (Image courtesy of Eren Burak Kuru).

At certain moments, architecture and the Metaverse are the same, talking about the social relationships of their users. However, architecture responds to that through public spaces, whereas the Metaverse is also the case but virtually. Therefore, one of the challenges in developing the Metaverse related to architecture is the design of its public space.

As an artificial world, the Metaverse positions itself as more than just social media due to technological experiments. However, by keeping the social aspects in mind, the environment created in the Metaverse can also imitate the real world. Therefore, even though it remains virtual, public spaces in the Metaverse are seen as an option equivalent to physical public spaces in the real world.

Metajuku by REPUBLIC REALM. (Image courtesy of REPUBLIC REALM)

The difference between physical and virtual public spaces can be seen in several things, for example, the social interaction formed by both. If physical public spaces allow unstructured social interaction, virtual public spaces are the opposite. In some digital platforms, social interactions can be more structured because of restrictions such as text, images, and videos. In addition, social networks formed in physical and virtual public spaces also have the possibility of huge-scale differences. When physical public spaces can only reach the surrounding communities, virtual public spaces know no territorial boundaries in the affairs of their users.

Sandbox Map (Image courtesy of Chloe Sun)Sandbox Map (Image courtesy of Chloe Sun).

Despite having excellent prospects for the future, the Metaverse still needs to be developed further if it wants to provide the best public space for many people's dreams. As the book, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino mentions an imaginary world (Metaverse) built with good 'urban planning' poetically and mathematically.

No, one of the things that still does not exist in the current development of the Metaverse is the universal standard for designing its spaces, including its public spaces. Currently, many platforms have created the Metaverse with their own rules. If this phenomenon is left unattended, it will be difficult to define public spaces in the Metaverse.

Townscraper developed by Oskar Stålberg (Image courtesy of Chloe Sun)Townscraper developed by Oskar Stålberg (Image courtesy of Chloe Sun).


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