The city of Washington, D.C. recently had the chance to see a glimpse into the future of urban redevelopment through the use of augmented reality (AR). Created by inCitu, an AR app allowed residents to see the changes happening to the Franklin D. Reeves Center. This new technology has the potential to change urban life, as it is already being used by U.S. cities to improve accessibility for marginalized communities and increase community involvement. However, the fast adoption of AR also brings challenges that need to be addressed, especially in terms of regulations, privacy, and public spaces.

One of the main concerns about the fast adoption of AR is the lack of rules for different things, like advertising, taxes, private property, and public spaces in the augmented world. As AR becomes more common, it is important to set limits to make sure the virtual world respects the rights and interests of people and communities. The need for this was shown by the impact of Pokemon Go, a popular mobile game that used AR and virtual reality (VR). Cities were not ready for the consequences of widespread AR use, and there were car accidents, robberies, injuries, and economic problems. This showed the need for rules and planning when using AR in cities.

Besides rules, using AR in cities also raises concerns about privacy and cybersecurity. As personal information becomes more connected to the digital world, it is important to have strong principles and protections to keep privacy and data safe. Without rules, cities risk having security problems and collecting too much personal data.

The expanding metaverse, a virtual space that combines AR and VR, is expected to be used a lot in cities. Almost 700 cities are expected to start using metaverse technologies by the end of the decade. While this is good for getting information about urban changes, it also means there need to be laws and ethics to deal with possible problems.

Cities like Decatur, Georgia, are already using Bluetooth beacons and AR apps to help people with vision problems. This shows the positive impact AR can have on making things more accessible and inclusive. But authorities need to be prepared to keep urban populations safe.

AR also has the power to give everyone access to information about urban changes, so everyone can have a say in shaping their cities. But this can only happen if there are rules and policies to make sure everyone benefits from AR equally. Urban planning needs to change to include everyone’s needs and ideas.

In conclusion, the future of AR in cities has a lot of potential to change urban life and create great experiences. But it also brings challenges that need to be faced. We need to have informed discussions and take action to use AR responsibly, ethically, and inclusively. Only then can we use AR to make vibrant and fair urban environments for everyone.