From hybrid spaces to “imagination cities”: A speculative approach to virtual reality

Johanna Ylipulli, Matti Pouke, Aale Luusua, Timo Ojala

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This Chapter investigates the notion of hybrid spaces, in the context of combining virtual reality (VR) technology with a public urban place, the library. To accomplish this, we used a design anthropological approach and participatory design (PD) methods, through which we produced a series of workshops and interviews, and finally, the Virtual Library (VL), a design artefact that creates a hybrid space comprising of physical and digital manifestations of a public library. The empirical materials from the workshops are here analyzed through the concepts of media, hybrid space and meta-worlds, with an emphasis on the imaginative aspects present in the participant materials. Finally, we engage in speculative reflection, asking what might happen if similar hybrid spaces were to become more widespread in cities. We arrive at the notion of “imagination cities”, where spatial, immersive and imaginative digital worlds are interlaced with the physical urban environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Companion to Smart Cities
EditorsKatharine Willis, Alessandro Aurigi
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9781138036673
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


  • virtual reality
  • hybrid space
  • design anthropology
  • participatory design
  • speculative approach
  • imagination


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