Historic Preservation Through Virtual Reality

By utilizing virtual reality software, students at UC Berkeley are recreating a historic stretch of Oakland, California's 7th Street, a historic hotbed of jazz and blues clubs during the 1940s and '50s.

"During the 1940s and 1950s, Oakland's 7th Street was a vibrant stretch of jazz and blues clubs, a cultural mecca that drew musicians and music lovers from all over the country."

"Now the area is being brought back to life in a joint project of the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and School of Architecture that is using a video game program to let people experience again what the clubs were like and learn the story of Oakland's jazz and blues scene."

"An six-block stretch of 7th Street is being recreated as a virtual world, which people can access over the Internet and adopt avatar figures to walk up and down the streets, enter the clubs, hear the music of the era and interact with other people logged onto the site."

Thanks to Cate Miller

Full Story: Remembering 7th Street



Interesting but not Historic Preservation

This is an interesting project in the study of history but I wouldn't call it historic preservation since nothing is being preserved.

It seems like a silly semantic point but just as an animatronic animal is not of use to a biologist a recreated building, especially in "virtual" form will never be a comparable resource to authentic, original, architecture and communities.

If we start fooling ourselves into believing projects like this are "preservation" we start down a slippery slope where it is ok to destroy our heritage and replace it with avatars.

Mike G aka fullerton

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