cityengine2The ability to project and analyse the impact of district plan rules or a development proposal as a 3D graphical model is a powerful tool for planning and design projects.

CityEngine is a cutting-edge 3D modelling application that specialises in modelling urban environments. Using existing GIS information (for example - land parcels, building footprints, lidar and street networks) and rules such as maximum building heights, setbacks and open space requirements, CityEngine can generate 3D building and street models of entire urban centres. It is also possible to create entirely new urban subdivisions – streets and lot patterns can be generated around existing site constraints and subdivision rules. This can be used to show development potential, and to understand possible changes in urban structure with alterations to the planning rules. Different options or outcomes can be compared by reporting on a range of variables including floor area ratio/plot ratio, building footprint areas and dwellings per hectare.

At the scale of individual buildings, CityEngine can analyse visibility and shadow impacts, and identify what views are available from individual building floors. This information is vital in understanding the impact of building development proposals.

Three dimensional models generated by CityEngine can be transformed into impressive virtual flyovers, published dynamically on the web, or used in conjunction with CAD software to create more detailed building designs. The ability to publish realistic, visual interpretations of the impact of urban development changes in video, static imagery or in an interactive webscene is increasingly being used across New Zealand as an excellent communication and consultation tool.

The technology underpinning CityEngine is powerful for communicating the impacts of District Plan rules and development proposals. Understanding these implications can facilitate discussion as well as greatly supporting consultation and decision making. Our GIS team is working at the forefront of this innovative technology. It is developing new ways to integrate CityEngine into our work, ensuring we can extract the maximum value from our client’s spatial data.