The COVID-19 pandemic significantly heightened the use of virtual spaces for both professional and personal interactions, effectively bridging physical communication barriers. However, with its range of immersive applications beyond traditional online interactions, the metaverse presents extraordinary opportunities for humanity. Captivating virtual environments has sparked our imagination and made us consider novel ways to seamlessly connect and collaborate online. In the metaverse, we can build functional virtual communities in intricately crafted digital worlds.
The growing metaverse market has the potential to transform various aspects of our lives, from work and learning to leisure, travel, healthcare and interactions. It can reform crucial areas such as governance and planning, especially for rapidly growing cities of the Global South. The metaverse can revolutionise how cities are planned and managed while accelerating innovation. Its disruption holds the promise for the people-centric development of cities. How can the metaverse empower and assist urban local governments? How can the metaverse accelerate innovation and investments for developing sustainable and inclusive cities? In what ways can the metaverse reshape urban planning to prioritise people’s needs, aspirations and experiences?