Urban Design

The BPDA’s Urban Design Technology Group (UDTG) is dedicated to visualizing and conveying important information about planning and development in the City of Boston.

The employees of the UDTG are stewards of Boston’s 3D computer model, an ambitious undertaking which has benefited the public, developers, media, and academics. Up until 2000, a scaled wooden model of the City was the main tool for the BPDA to understand new developments in context. Developers needed to bring in physical models of their projects to be critiqued within the larger city model, and only individuals who were able to visit the BPDA could see the results up close. After 2000, the department began assembling a robust citywide 3D model using ESRI’s Spatial Data Engine (SDE), Cad Client, AutoCad, and 3ds Max.

The model is highly detailed and includes terrain, highway tunnels, trees, and more than 92,000 buildings. Many portions of the model are available for free public download as DWG and Max files. This service is invaluable to developers and the BPDA, who benefit from utilizing a consistent context as they move through the project approval process. Academics may use the model for their own studies. Finally, both the BPDA and the media utilize the model to help convey information about planning and development work and to promote a constructive public dialogue about physical changes to the city.

The UDTG’s staff includes professional urban designers, architects, and landscape architects and functions as part of the BPDA’s Urban Design Department.

For more information, please contact  Te-Ming Chang, Urban Design Technology Group Manager, by email or by telephone at 617.918.4217.

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