The use of a virtual city model for assessing equity in access to views

Shinya Yasumoto, Andrew P. Jones, Tomoki Nakaya, Keiji Yano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The development of virtual city models has provided novel possibilities for analyses that require consideration of building heights in urban areas. The study was undertaken to explore these possibilities by using the virtual Kyoto model to examine equity in access to views in the Japanese city. A sample of just over 5000 residences was selected by stratifying for population age and affluence. A series of viewsheds were computed to quantify the visibility of a range of environmental amenities (greenspaces, water bodies, historical buildings, mountains) and disamenities (factories and roads). Evidence of inequity in visual amenity was identified, whereby homes in areas with many old people were much less likely to have views of greenspaces and water bodies, although they were also less likely to see factories and roads and were more likely to view mountains. Homes in more affluent areas had better views of greenspaces, historical buildings, and mountains, and were less likely to see factories and water bodies. We discuss the potential of virtual city models for furthering analyses of the urban environment and raise some caveats regarding their use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalComputers, Environment and Urban Systems
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

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