Every aspect of the urban environment exists in three-dimensional space incorporating buildings, roads, bridges, trees, streetlights, topography and other key features. To make effective decisions, planners need a way to understand how these features impact one another in the real world.
Zoning staff need to assess how building height, setbacks and parking affect development potential for different zoning scenarios. Reviewers need to determine whether a proposed building will fit within the existing urban context or obstruct iconic views. Decision makers and stakeholders need an easy way to evaluate and compare policy alternatives so they can provide informed feedback and make justifiable decisions.
To address these needs, successful planning organizations are using 3D GIS as a common foundation for all kinds of planning and community development workflows and processes. A model of the urban environment involves creating a representation of the current and planned urban form, and using it to understand and manage the continuous urban development process. Doing so allows these organizations to generate insights that impact their plans and more effectively share data with stakeholders and decision makers.