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The Metaverse and Sustainable Urban Development

Dec 13, 2023

Callum Moates

The metaverse is revolutionizing urban development. The 3D immersive environment of the metaverse allows city planners and architects to create dynamic models of urban spaces. 3D models help visualize, simulate, and plan projects better. Citizen engagement also reaches new heights as residents can virtually explore and contribute to proposed changes in urban spaces, which builds a sense of community involvement. The 3D internet’s immersive technologies allow multiple stakeholders to collaborate in a city’s development.

Using the metaverse to create 3D simulations of urban environments, landscapes, and buildings is also a game-changer in creating sustainable structures. For instance, while planning urban landscapes, 3D models supported by real-time data can help design spaces by optimizing traffic, energy consumption, waste management, and public safety. Architects can also build virtual simulations to ensure buildings are energy efficient and have low ecological impact. The metaverse can also promote sustainable living by nurturing communities, sharing knowledge through simulations of climate impact, and allowing people to track the carbon footprint of their living spaces.

The 3D urban landscape

The metaverse offers incredible opportunities for virtual urban planning and development, transforming how cities are planned and designed. One prominent application is using 3D simulations to aid city planners in creating environmentally friendly and efficient urban spaces.

3D simulations for design optimization

Metaverse technology can facilitate the creation of intricate 3D simulations replicating city environments. These simulations serve as platforms for testing design scenarios, optimizing layouts, and allocating resources efficiently. The process enhances the development of aesthetically pleasing and environmentally sustainable urban spaces. Moreover, it enables rapid prototyping, allowing planners to visualize and modify project elements swiftly, saving time and resources. For instance, to support the development of urban spaces, tools like SketchUp aid in conceptualizing 3D models based on resources like 2D CAD images and aerial imagery. Builders can represent structures accurately in a virtual environment and invite multiple stakeholders to view them through augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR), detecting issues early on. SketchUp's integration with geographic data also contributes to creating comprehensive land-use maps for precise urban planning.

Efficient resource management

The metaverse allows for the integration of real-time data and analytics into 3D urban plans. City planners can use this data to optimize resource management, including energy consumption, traffic flow, and waste disposal. This data-driven approach ensures that urban spaces are designed efficiently, minimizing resource wastage and maximizing sustainability. For example, Taqtile's Microsoft HoloMaps is a mixed-reality (MR) application that superimposes live traffic data onto 3D maps, allowing city planners to design better urban spaces.

Collaborative decision-making

The metaverse enables collaborative decision-making among stakeholders, including government agencies, architects, developers, and citizens. Virtual meetings within the metaverse enhanced through mixed reality (MR) enable real-time discussions and feedback, ensuring that urban planning is a collective effort. This collaborative approach results in well-rounded and inclusive urban development projects.

Sustainable living in the metaverse

The metaverse can promote green lifestyles through its innovative technologies and ability to connect multiple communities. Here are some ways the metaverse can contribute to sustainable living:

  • Green living simulations: 3D Internet platforms can host realistic simulations of eco-friendly living practices, allowing users to experiment with sustainable choices in a virtual environment. These virtual simulations could include designing green homes, implementing renewable energy solutions, or practicing sustainable agriculture. Users can learn about the environmental impact of their choices and refine their sustainable living skills through these simulations. In one of its recent publications, VentureBeat mentions that several virtual reality (VR) experiments to impart knowledge around climate and sustainability issues lead to better understanding, personalized impact, and emotional connection.

  • Carbon footprint tracking: Digital twins of physical housing and urban properties in the metaverse can be used to track the space’s carbon footprints. Virtual models could monitor their physical counterpart's energy consumption and provide tips to reduce overall environmental impact. Gamification elements can be added to encourage users to compete in reducing their carbon footprints, fostering a sense of community and accomplishment. A study by EY revealed that a building’s carbon footprint can be halved by using a digital twin, which can analyze vast data sets to predict levels of air pollution and carbon emissions.

The 3D Internet in urban design

Integrating the 3D internet in architectural design is crucial in creating sustainable urban spaces by providing architects and urban planners with powerful visualization, collaboration, and analysis tools.

3D internet tools enable architects to simulate the energy performance of buildings and entire urban developments. They can analyze factors such as sunlight exposure, wind patterns, and thermal efficiency to optimize energy consumption and reduce environmental impact. This capability allows for the identification of energy-efficient design solutions and the incorporation of renewable energy sources. Architects use tools like Autodesk Ecotect to simulate a building's energy performance. Autodesk has also recently announced plans to integrate its software with metaverse platforms, like Epic Games. In these 3D environments, builders will be able to collaborate in real-time to analyze factors like sunlight and thermal efficiency to optimize the design for reduced energy consumption and environmental impact, allowing for efficient integration of renewable energy sources. 

3D internet platforms support scenario analysis, allowing architects to evaluate different development scenarios and their potential impact on sustainability metrics. Simulations in the metaverse can enable architects to visualize the ecological footprint of buildings yet to be built, analyzing their design, structure, and materials for durability and efficiency.  Architects can also predict factors like carbon emissions, water usage, and waste generation in building a structure.

Real-world implementation

Singapore’s digital twin project

Singapore recently achieved a milestone in developing projects using the metaverse by creating the world's first digital twin of an entire nation using Bentley Systems tools—the creation of this virtual 3D model involved integrating GIS, lidar, and imagery data. The digital twin aims to help make the city sustainable, resilient, and intelligent. Singapore's digital twin infrastructure is particularly vital as it will help address concerns around rising sea levels. With accurate terrain models, the twin will assist urban planners in responding to challenges like climate change, water resource management, and coastal protection efforts.

The New York City Brooklyn Navy Yard project

As a part of the global Clean Cities - Clean Future initiative, the software company Cityzenith pledged to provide its SmartWorldOS digital twin to cities to support them in meeting their carbon reduction targets. New York City collaborated with Cityzenith NYC 2030 District and Agile Fractal Grid (AFG) to build a virtual 3D replica of Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 225-acre land, to tackle the area’s energy consumption concerns. The project will help buildings in the area significantly cut operating costs and carbon emissions.

Wellington, New Zealand’s digital twin project

In Wellington, New Zealand, city leaders believe that a digital twin can help engage residents on crucial decisions related to climate change. This digital twin is a lifelike replica of an environment accessible to policymakers and the public via a desktop or tablet, with the ability to update in real-time and utilize historical data to illustrate past and future scenarios. Wellington aims to expand its digital twin to help residents and decision-makers comprehend and respond to challenges like rising sea levels and extreme weather events, making the crisis more tangible and real to the community.


The metaverse offers a unique platform for envisioning and implementing sustainable urban development. Emphasizing responsible and inclusive practices using 3D virtual models can significantly influence real-world urban planning, fostering a future where cities are environmentally conscious, socially inclusive, and economically resilient. Continued exploration and innovation in leveraging the metaverse will be vital to unlocking its full potential in shaping the sustainable cities of tomorrow.

Are you a city planner, architect, or government body looking to develop sustainable urban projects? We can help you build and scale 3D models and digital twins in the metaverse to enhance sustainability planning. Get in touch with us!

Dec 13, 2023

Callum Moates

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About Landvault

Landvault is building infrastructure to accelerate the metaverse economy, by building tools to create, deploy and monetize content. The company has helped over 200 clients enter the metaverse, including both Fortune 500 companies and government organizations like the Abu Dhabi government, Mastercard, L’Oreal, Red Bull, and Heineken. The company has raised a total of $40m over the past three years and continues to pioneer technological advancements.

We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2024

Landvault · Wam Group

All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2024 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2024 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved