Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Creating a sense of place with a deliberately constrained virtual environment

Turner, Phil; Turner, Susan; Burrows, Luke


Phil Turner

Susan Turner

Luke Burrows


This study took as its starting point the premise that a high degree of realism is not a necessary condition for the creation of a ‘sense of place’ in mediated experiences such as those presented through virtual reality. A sense of place is the sense of being present somewhere in particular. We report on the usefulness of an intentionally low fidelity virtual environment which relies on the metaphor of the ‘tourist gaze’ and the power of the visitor’s imagination in ‘fill-in the gaps’ to create a sense of place. This application was a non-immersive (desktop) representation of Edinburgh using augmented images and sound. It was evaluated by 25 participants who reported experiencing a sense of place rather than a mere collection of images. We discuss the results in the light of weak and strong cognitive representation processes and indicate potential applications of the approach


Turner, P., Turner, S., & Burrows, L. (2013). Creating a sense of place with a deliberately constrained virtual environment. International Journal of Cognitive Performance Support, 1, 54-68.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date 2013
Deposit Date Mar 6, 2012
Electronic ISSN 1742–7215
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Pages 54-68
Keywords Virtual reality; virtual environments; sense of place; sense of presence; tourist gaze; mediated experiences; cognitive representations
Public URL
Publisher URL

Downloadable Citations