M.Sc. Thesis: Adopting Procedural Information Modeling in Urban Planning

Discussion created by eeaa on May 5, 2014
Latest reply on Jun 3, 2014 by joaqulop

I'm finishing a M.Sc. program in urban planning and I wrote my thesis on the adoption of procedural modeling in urban planning. I thought some of you might find it useful, so here it is: 

If you have any questions you can ask them here or send me an email to


This thesis examines procedural modeling as a tool for urban plan creation. Procedural modeling historically has been used for 3D visualization of natural features, but with the release of the software CityEngine in 2008 the technology can easily be adopted also in problem domains dealing with urban environments.

The study begins with a requirement analysis conducted to explore the needs urban planning imposes on the technology, based on which a functional procedural modeling production system is built using the CityEngine platform and its Computer Generated Architecture (CGA) scripting language. A solution is presented to the problem of control in procedural generation methods by introducing the concept of a selectable �??Level of Control�?� and how its implementation in the produced system enables the planner to flexibly assume the necessary amount of control over the generated model.

The finished product is then compared against the presented requirements of accuracy, efficiency, ease of use, high visual qualities, and advanced analytical capabilities. The efficiency of the system measured as the ratio between user interactions (mouse clicks and keystrokes) and modeling output in the setting of the assessment is found out to be two to three times greater than the efficiency of a more established manual modeling software.

The technology as demonstrated through the produced system is concluded to be especially suitable for preliminary land use studies estimating the building potentials of extensive land areas. Directions for future research with potential to expand the applicability of the technology are discussed.