The development of a “smart” 3D model basemap supports the BPDA’s mission and goal in the use of leading edge technologies and the implementation of new solutions to solve complex planning and development challenges facing our city today and in the future—challenges as varied as climate change and global warming, to transportation and housing.

The 3D model provides staff with planning tools which improve stakeholder communication through better visualization by providing a "real-world" context as the basis for exploring, planning, and analyzing Boston’s urban context—including communication to support planning initiatives, strategic planning areas, development proposals in the pipeline, and in-house urban design studies, shadow analysis and zoning development capacity modeling.

Planners can quickly develop land use and zoning scenarios/alternatives; calculate and report on metrics and key performance indicators, such as capacity for new housing and jobs; communicate complex zoning information visually to facilitate understanding of density, FAR and zoning volumes.

  • The 3D model leverages the value of the City’s current investment in 3D capabilities (e.g. the UDTG urban design model.)
  • Intelligent 3D model brings together CAD, GIS, and 3rd party 3D models from developers.
  • Provides web-based 3D ‘self-service’ mapping and the creation of dynamic / interactive storytelling and communications-related websites.
  • Web-based access to 3D model of entire city on demand.
  • 3D model supports visualization and analysis related to urban form...helps make planning issues and their impacts ‘real’ and more easily understandable.
  • The 3D model environment also provides rich opportunities for exploring local context, suitability, and other spatial phenomena that influence land use policy.

The 3D Model was created using the City of Boston’s planimetric data from 2009–2010 and updated using building models from CyberCity 3D and BPDA, Urban Design Technology Group.