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Paul Waddell, Edward Janowicz, Samuel Blanchard and Samuel Maurer

This chapter outlines a vision for changing the way we deal with planning for infrastructure and urban development at all scales, and a platform to implement that vision. We describe a collaborative cloud-based platform in which metropolitan planning organizations, cities, counties and citizens can participate more effectively in informed planning. We make a case for the creation of infrastructure for shared regional data and analytics, and describe UrbanCanvas as a cloud platform designed to implement this vision. The development and application of the platform in numerous metropolitan areas in North America, Europe and Africa have provided opportunities to generalize the approach and make it adaptable to diverse contexts and with varying data availability and technical capacity.

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Paul Waddell, Christiana Whitcomb, Francisco Figari, Federico Fernandez and Justin Martinez

This chapter presents a web-based solution for site feasibility analysis developed by UrbanSim Inc. Penciler was designed to help address the challenge of analysing vacant and redevelopment sites for multi-family housing development, with a focus on affordable housing. The core of Penciler is a proprietary algorithm developed by UrbanSim that uses constrained optimization to layout residential floorplans given the zoning constraints of the site and building programme requirements of the user. Three-dimensional visualization allows users to visualize building results in context. Penciler is intended to help users analyse building programmes for development sites, keep track of funding needed across different projects and better understand the impact of policy decisions on building feasibility.