ArcGIS Urban

Getting Started with ArcGIS Urban

The Urban Dashboard

As an urban planner in San Francisco, you’re interested in developing the Mission Bay area to promote growth and support an increase in population and jobs. To visualize and analyze your planning scenario, you’ll use ArcGIS Urban – a 3D planning tool that allows you to design new scenarios and use dashboards to compare their impact against the current situation, in addition to sharing your vision with others.

In this tutorial you will:

You will need:

Create an Urban Model

You can create an Urban Model through ArcGIS Online on the Content tab.

  1. Sign in to your ArcGIS Online account and click Content.

2. Click Create and select Urban Model.

In the Content tab, create an Urban Model

3. Fill in the following information:

4. Click Ok.

ArcGIS Urban opens. When you create a new model, you have the option to use a template, or start with an empty model.

5. Select the USA Default Urban Template and click Set up Urban.

The application will take a few minutes to create services. The USA Default template will open onto a blank Scene.

ArcGIS Urban empty Scene

The USA Default template includes basic data for zoning types, building types, overlays, and project statuses that you can use instead of importing your own data. Alternatively, the Empty template does not include any data.

Add data

Now that your model is created, you will navigate the planning area and add 3D buildings and parcel data.

1. In the search bar, search for and select Mission Bay, San Francisco, California.

The map zooms to the area.

2. Press the X in the search bar to remove the location point.

3. On the top right of the toolbar, click the Manage button.

The Manage button on the ArcGIS Urban toolbar

The Settings tab opens.

4. In the Settings tab, under General, for City Name type San Francisco.

5. Under 3D Base Layers, for Existing Buildings Layer (SceneLayer), click Select Item.

The Portal Item Picker opens.

6. From the dropdown select ArcGIS Online.

7. Search for and select Buildings_MissionBay owner:Learn_ArcGIS. Click Ok.


Select the buildings layer

The layer is under 3D Base Layers. Now you’ll add the Parcel data.

Normally, as an urban planner, you would bulk upload the entire city’s parcel data, but for now you will only include parcel data for Mission Bay. If needed, you could also use the Add Parcel tool to draw individual parcels into the plan. For more information, read through the Preparing your data and Data manager layers documentation.

8. On the toolbar, click Layers and select Parcels. On the Parcels page, click Add.

9. In the Portal Item Picker window, set search to ArcGIS Online. Then search for and select Parcels_MissionBay owner: Learn_ArcGIS. Click Ok.

In the next window, you can match attribute fields to be used in the model. All fields in the Parcels_MissionBay feature layer have been automatically matched.

10. Click Ok to confirm the field match. Then Ok again after the 72 features have been imported.

11. On the top left of the toolbar, click the Menu button, then select Overview to return to the Scene.

Clicking Overview

3D buildings are added for the city of San Francisco. You can navigate around the scene by left-clicking to drag, right-clicking to tilt and using the mouse wheel to zoom.

Mission Bay buildings

Draw the planning area

The planning area for your scenario defines the extent of the plan. The planning area is also where you will later configure the parcels and zoning types.

1. On the top right of the toolbar, click the Add button and select Plan.

2. On the new toolbar, click Parcels to include the parcel data in this plan.

3. In the bottom right, click the Tilt View button to switch to a top-down view. Then click the Compass to set North as up.

The 3D and Compass buttons

The new zoning area will be in Mission Bay, San Francisco. It will extend between China Basin Park (North) to 16th Street (South) and between 7th Street (West) and Terry A Francois Blvd (East).

4. Outline the planned zoning area by clicking on the map.

Study area outline of Mission Bay

5. Double-click to finish drawing. Then click Add Plan.

6. In the Add Plan window add the following information:

Information about the Mission Bay plan

7. Click OK.

Your plan is added to the search panel and to the map view. By default, it includes with the following scenarios:

No project data has been added so the Existing Scenario is empty.

Add parcels and zone boundaries

Once a plan has been created, it can be edited in the Plan Designer. You can edit the plan by manually drawing features, such as zoning boundaries, but you can also manually upload features as you previously did with the parcels. You’ll update the parcel features by adding an additional feature, then define the zoning boundaries within your planning area.

1. On the Plan Detail card, click Options and select Edit in Plan Designer.

Select Edit in Plan Designer

The toolbar changes to show Parcels’ mode for the Plan Designer. You now have access to Zoning, Overlays, and Parcels modes; a Parcels workflow toolbar, and options for Building Types, Inspector, and Dashboard. You can also turn layers on and off, to more easily navigate the plans.

2. On the top left of the toolbar, click the Menu button, then turn off Existing buildings. Click the Menu button again to close it.

Turning off the Existing Buildings layer

You already added Parcel data from the Data Manager, which is now visible in the planning area as black outlines. You can also manually add parcels by tracing them with the Add Parcels tool.

3. On the Workflow toolbar, click Add Parcels.

The Add Parcel tool.

The drawing interface appears. You can draw new parcels inside the planning area. When tracing new parcels, the final vertex of the parcel should either intersect the first point, or you should double-click to finish drawing. When you are finished drawing the polygon will turn orange and you can click Ok.

4. Trace a new parcel in between Long Bridge St and China Basin St.

A new parcel is traced between Long Bridge St. and China Basin St.

5. Click OK.

The new parcel is added to the rest. Next, you’ll add zones.

Zoning boundaries can be uploaded as a feature layer or can be drawn manually in the designer. Since you are experimenting with the new zoning plan, you will manually add it into this model using the Add Zone tool.

6. On the toolbar, click Zoning. The Zoning workflow toolbar appears.

7. On the workflow toolbar, click Add Zone.

The Add Zone button.

A drawing interface appears. There are five zones in the Mission Bay plan.

8. Draw each of the five zones as pictured below.

Note: After you draw a zone, you need to click Ok, then select the Add Zone tool again.

The Zoning boundary is added to the view and the Single Family Residential (SFR) zoning type is automatically assigned.

Design and apply new zoning types

After adding the zoning boundaries, you can assign zoning types to teach. By default, SFR is applied, but you can use the default zoning types included in the USA Urban template, or add new zoning types. You will add a Mixed-Use zoning type, and then designate each area.

1. On the right side of the toolbar, click Zoning Types.

The Zoning Types side panel opens.

2. Click +Add.

3. In the Add Zoning Type window, fill out the following information:

The Add Zoning Type configurations

4. Click Ok.

The new zoning type is added to the list and the configuration dialog window appears.

5. Configure the parameters:

Zoning type parameters.

6. For the Tier 2, you’ll configure additional parameters:

Tier 2 configurations

7. Click Ok.

The new Mission Bay Mixed Use zoning type is now available in the Zoning Types side panel. You can apply zoning types by selecting the zoning boundary in the map, and then selecting the assigned type from the Zoning Types side panel.

8. Assign the zoning types to each zoning boundary as follows:

Zoning types assigned

Design and apply building types

After zoning types are applied, you can apply building types to each parcel. A building type will allow you to visualize what a typical structure for the specific type might look like – such as commercial, residential, or offices. Certain building types are only allowed in their appropriate zoning areas. The USA Urban template that you selected includes several different kinds of building types to use, but you can also create your own.

1. On the toolbar, on the left, click Parcels.

The designer switches to Parcels mode. The Parcels workflow toolbar appears.

2. On the right of the toolbar, click Building Types.

Similar to the Zoning Types side panel, the Building Types side panel allows you to select parcels in the map and apply different building types to each one. You can also add new building types.

3. In the side panel, click Add.

4. Create the new building type:

Building type specifications

5. Click OK.

The Building Type configuration window appears. You’ll add a new structural part to the building type. Structural parts are the sections of the building that reside above ground, whereas substructural parts reside below ground. Each part also allows for further configuration.

6. Under Structural Parts, click Part 1 – Cultural to expand it. Configure it as:

Building structure - Part 1

7. Under Structural Parts, click Add Part.

8. Configure Part 2 as:

9. Click OK.
The new building type, Industrial Flex + Tech, is saved and added to the building types list. To locate the new building type in the list, use the search bar or set the filter to Proposals Only.

Filter for Tech + Flex building type

To assign a Building Type, select the parcel in the map, then select the Building Type in the side panel. Building types need to be compatible with the zoning type, for example commercial building types should be assigned to the Downtown Core zone.

For your plan, explore the building types that are compatible for each zoning area.

10. For each parcel, assign a building type.

Note: Your visualization may look different from the image depending on which building types you assigned.


Assess impact using the dashboard

The Urban Dashboard allows you to compare capacity indicators, such as Population, Households, and Jobs, from the Exisiting Scenario and the proposed scenario – Scenario 1. The indicators are calculated based on the Space Use types assigned to each parcel building. For example, residential building types increase the capacity for households and retail building types increase job capacity.

The city of San Francisco has defined specific population, household and job targets for the Mission Bay development plan. You’ll input these numbers into the dashboard for comparison.

1. On the toolbar, click Mission Bay Zoning Plan – Scenario 1, and select Configure.

Select Configure from the toolbar dropdown

Note: You can also access the Configuration options, from the Mission Bay Zoning Plan card More Options button.

2. In the Scenario tab, expand the Existing Conditions bar and input the following data:

Existing capacity indicators

3. Expand Scenario 1 and under New Capacity Indicators, click the Calculator button for Population, Households, and Jobs.
Based on the building types you have applied in your plan capacity metrics are automatically generated. Now you’ll configure the target indicators to see how your proposed plan compares.

4. For Scenario 1, under Target Capacity Indicators:

Scenario 1 indicators

5. Click Ok.

After the two scenarios are configured, you can view the data on the Urban Dashboard.

6. On the right side of the toolbar, click Dashboard.


The Urban Dashboard

The dashboard side panel appears. Your numbers may look different, depending on your assigned building types. You can scroll through the different infographics to better understand the planning scenario’s impacts.

In order to reach the city’s targets for population, households, and jobs, you can create new planning scenarios, or adjust Scenario 1’s assigned building types and zones. Your planning scenario is currently private, but when you reach a satisfactory plan you can share it with stakeholders.

In this tutorial, you’ve created a new development plan for Mission Bay by adding 3D building features and parcels then creating zoning areas within Mission Bay. You created custom zoning and building types, then assigned them to your features. Finally, you analyzed the impact of your decisions on population, households, and jobs by using the Urban Dashboard.

Learn more about ArcGIS Urban by visiting the product page.

About the author

Natalie is a product designer on the ArcGIS Urban team based at ESRI R&D Zurich. Natalie has a background in city design and, in addition to digitalising urban planning workflows and writing documentation at Esri, she is passionate about the socio-political aspects of urban environments (think inclusive urban design and housing policy).


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