Called Visage, the system created by the Edinburgh Parallel Computing Centre, which is funded by the European Union, is considered such a success that there are already plans to produce similar models of Bologna and Cologne.
'Using the model we will be able to take people through the streets and show them the effect of proposed changes,' said Mark Sawyer, Visage's project leader.
'We are going to put the model on to the internet,' he said. 'In a few years' time, instead of seeing a notice hanging on a lamp-post inviting you to go to the town hall to see a model of a proposed building change, you will be able to visit it via your PC or TV.
If the system works, it also raises the prospect or more effective lobbying campaigns against particular developments, as the man in the virtual street can take advantage of digital power to register their opposition to a building scheme.