We have been tasked with researching the work that other practitioners have done in a similar field, to give us an understanding of what research and process professionals have gone through in order to create realistic streets and atmosphere in games.
I have found a piece of work done by Sébastien Lagarde, in working on the Remember me game, the third part of this article looks at how different the environments are when wet, the sheer amount of reference pictures he has taken is astonishing.
This is the same scene but giving a drastic change in atmosphere, this links in with what we are doing by looking at the relationship to water and what an environment would look like wet. For instance if this street was a market that experienced a lot of rain, they may want to build some roofs and drainage system to prevent consumers from getting wet, but it looks intentionally left open to the elements and designed that way to let light in during the day and illuminated by the shops lights and signs on a night. You can see how many pictures he took for reference to make this scene here.
I will be continuing this research and finding more examples of practitioners who have looked at this urban theme.