This study focuses on the difficult issue of building consensus among local residents participating in improvement planning for densely built–up areas with vulnerability to earthquake disasters. As an initial step towards the formulation of a method for building consensus in the participatory planning process, we attempt to clarify the issues involved based on a literature survey and interviews with professionals in the field; then, we examine the main factors affecting consensus building in improvement planning. The results reveal that the lack of performance evaluation of the draft plans for disaster mitigation during workshops as well as an inability to clearly share in visual form images of the prospective townscape after implementation of the plans, are among the main factors negatively affecting consensus planning. From this investigation, the study experimentally develops a tool to meet these challenges by enabling a quantitative evaluation of disaster–mitigation performance; at the same time, this tool can be used to show a virtual 3D image of the future townscape based on the draft plans examined during the workshops.
Keywords: disaster mitigation, densely built–up areas, consensus building, performance evaluation, virtual reality, VR, townscape images, geographic information systems, GIS, participatory planning, planning support systems, P–PSS, improvement planning, workshops, urban vulnerability, earthquakes, disaster planning, emergency planning, disaster management, emergency management