Handbook of Planning Support Science
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Handbook of Planning Support Science

Edited by Stan Geertman and John Stillwell

Encompassing a broad range of innovative studies on planning support science, this timely Handbook examines how the consequences of pressing societal challenges can be addressed using computer-based systems. Chapters explore the use of new streams of big and open data as well as data from traditional sources, offering significant critical insights into the field.
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Chapter 31: Penciler: a web-based affordable housing development feasibility analysis tool

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.

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