On June 7, 2004, the Downtown Residential Taskforce, appointed by the Mayor of the City of Ann Arbor Michigan, presented recommendations for increasing residential land use in the downtown to the City Council of the City of Ann Arbor (with follow-up on November 15, 2004).  Some of the policy statements in that document derived support from this author's global three-dimensional models showing simple box-like models of buildings in the area of the Downtown Development Authority (DDA).  The purpose of the models was to give the taskforce, and others, a sense of how added tall buildings, designed to increase residential and commercial opportunity, might alter the existing skyline and general downtown environment. In all, the Taskforce was presented with about 500 alternative, modeled, scenarios.  The techniques involved static maps (2D and 3D) made in Geographical Information Systems software, animations of maps, virtual reality and animations of virtual reality.  All were presented using the Internet -- not only to expert panels but also to members of the public so that they might have a useful vision of how change suggested by elected and appointed officials could affect their local urban environment.  The Internet was necessary to the presentation of information modeled via animation and virtual reality.

Previous articles in Solstice display the complete chronological unfolding of these models used by this Taskforce, primarily as tools in urban planning (consult links on the "Archive" page that cites articles and provides external links to them).  This article reviews briefly some of the elements of those articles and then offers a fresh view of the synthesis of local and global models useful not only in urban planning but also in emergency management involving security as well as environmental issues.  Click on a building in a virtual model and go to a web page to see what activities take place inside the building; "enter" via an "ENTERnet" connection!  Thus, the Internet plays a vital role in offering an inventory of building interiors that can be critical knowledge in times when rapid response from emergency forces is required.

Click on the buttons on the left to view sample models, to see models that have been in use by City officials, and to see one possible wave of the future in urban planning,  emergency management, and environmental security preparation.  First, install Cosmo Player or Cortona (or some other virtual reality viewer) in your Internet browser and set the headlight to the "on" position (terminology associated with Cosmo Player).  These models were tested using Cosmo Player.

*The advice, kindness, wisdom, and support of numerous individuals and groups has been critical in helping the author build this Atlas.  Errors or misinterpretations that remain are, of course, hers alone.  She does, however, owes a great debt to the following individuals and groups of individuals:
Solstice:  An Electronic Journal of Geography and Mathematics, Institute of Mathematical Geography, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Volume XV, Number 2.