GIS for Urban and Regional Planning

Procedural Design: The Future of Planning and Design

Procedural Design
Case Studies

It's about Intent

A city looks and feels the way it does because of human intention. Early civilizations built their settlements next to waterways, designing them to take advantage of these resources and ensure their survival. During the beginning of the industrial revolution, cities were designed with ever evolving rules, for example, ensuring that city streets were wide enough to accommodate the full turn of a horse and carriage. In this way, the values of the people were encoded into the very DNA of the city.

The New Rules

A complex built environment can be reduced to three basic elements: links along which travel can occur, nodes representing the intersections where two or more paths cross and public spaces form, and buildings where most human activities take place. The functionalities of place are all defined by rules and procedures, which make up the core design vocabulary of a place. Procedural design techniques automatically generate urban designs through predefined rules, which you can change as much as needed, providing room for limitless new design possibilities.

Whole City Design

Procedural design of a new urban ecosystem starts with a street network. Street blocks are then subdivided into lots, resulting in a new urban form. By selecting all or some of the lots, you can then generate buildings with appropriate setbacks and architectural characteristics. Procedural design technology lets buildings vary from one another to achieve an urban aesthetic. At this point, the city model can be redesigned quickly and iteratively by changing simple parameters.

Procedural DesignDesign by the Rules

Procedural design allows designers to write rules directly into the code of a rule set, essentially encoding anyone's values directly into how the city will look and feel. Any zoning code can be used to instantly model a city. Procedural design allows you to create complete city designs, not just a building at a time but entire neighborhoods with complete infrastructure and landscaping.

Urban Design is Changing

Procedural design opens the world to a new set of opportunities for urban planning. Today, a building must be designed as an integral part of the urban ecosystem to be considered sustainable. While design is not inherently dependent on metrics, during the realization process, even a cursory look at today's architecture reveals the need for a standard method of accountability. Procedural design provides advanced analytical tools in response to the growing need for measurable, performance-based design.

Procedural DesignIt's Fast

By using defined performance indicators, procedural design enables the rapid launch of community design and implementation strategies enabling design at several scales simultaneously. Scenarios supporting the geodesign framework can then be easily evaluated and reevaluated by comparing key performance indicators.

A New Way to Design

Procedural design creates a new relationship between people and their urban ecosystems. It's a technique that helps us to develop a better understanding of how we shape our cities and, in turn, how they shape us.

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