Suppose you could pull together a visualization session in your community: what could be done in our local area to become more sustainable? What possibilities do we have for re-localisation of food and manufacturing. Well, it might be more possible than many think. Apart from a lot of data being available on the local geographic situation, there are many tools and techniques around that help this visualization.
One of the major bodies involved in the area of simulation and mapping as a form of community development is the Local Government Commission. LGC is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization that provides inspiration, technical assistance, and networking to local elected officials and other dedicated community leaders who are working to create healthy, walkable, and resource-efficient communities.
The site is packed with resources, I especially like their advocacy of public participation in community planning. Read more: here
For a quick look at what visualization tools can do check out the site of the ENVIRONMENTAL SIMULATION CENTER, LTD. Try their demo pages and fly through Manhattan or experience
real time simulation