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What is Urban Simulation?

Urban simulation provides a dynamic model, or ‘digital twin’ of your area of interest. This is a computational urban environment in which processes can be tested, monitored, or set up for visualization. This includes projecting populations and conditions into the future, analytical mapping, risk assessments and much more.

Our Expertise

 Planning data is the roadmap for any growing city and we are the experts at consolidating it. No matter the scale or complexity, we strive to produce upgraded data and actionable intelligence on every project we work on.

Supercharging Planning Data

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Our dynamic models enable city planners and stakeholders to visualize, analyze, and interact with potential urban development scenarios and forecasts,

but for real

Assessment Data

We love assessment data! And we use it for a large proportion of our projects. It helps us to characterize the building stock and land information. to develop high quality analytical products

Wondering how your community community looks now, and/or how it will grow and change into the future? We have extensive experience in modelling the capacity of municipal lands for growth using a supply-side, land economics-based approach. This data-driven and considers a variety of key modelling parameters including: developments in progress; local and regional policy context; economics of low and medium density developments; and site considerations like assembly potential, environmental constraints, infrastructure constraints.

The outputs are spatially disaggregate land-use projections for your community both in the short term (10 years) and longer term (25-30 years) planning horizons. They reflect both the dynamic land use policy context in your municipality, as well as the realistic capacity of the community to permit, accommodate and construct for growth, given known constraints to development. Our work typically incorporates some scenario modeling considerations, especially pertaining to absorption rates, policy testing and land use intensification in established neighbourhoods.


Explore the below case studies to learn more....


City of Victoria Housing Supply Analysis

Vancouver Plan Buildout

Vancouver Plan


school district Optimization Image

School District Optimization

Case Studies


The City of Victoria sought to understand the potential future development patterns and locations under various scenarios. They wanted a comprehensive analysis of the City's capacity to accommodate growth under current and potential policies, accounting for real-world constraints and limitations. The challenge was to create a model that would:

1. Predict the types of developments and their locations; and 

2. Help inform decision-making an various fields such as:

  • Energy and emissions planning

  • Retail planning

  • Capital planning

  • Transit planning

  • Neighborhood planning

Case Study 1

City of Victoria Housing Supply Analysis


To address this challenge, we developed a city-wide simulation model that captures the current state and predicts development out to the year 2050. It considers various factors including:

  • Zoning

  • Historic redevelopment rates

  • Land Value

  • Building Value

  • Recent developments

  • Heritage designation

  • Other real-world constraints or limitations


Using this model, we ran multiple scenarios with different assumptions, including targets for developed floor areas.


The output maps, along with the analysis of net new units, dwelling types, and growth target areas, provided the client with valuable insights into the City's development potential under various scenarios. The model's application can be extended to multiple aspects of urban planning, making it a valuable tool for the City of Victoria's future development considerations.

Case Study 2

Vancouver Plan Buildout


How can the City of Vancouver optimize land use to accommodate projected growth into the future while meeting the VanPlan 2050 vision? 

The Vancouver Plan is a strategic, long-range plan that collectively guides our City to 2050 and beyond. Over the last two years, the City has compiled and completed a variety of mapping and analysis layers to inform the work, including digitizing various growth options and testing them against a short list of performance metrics associated with the Vancouver Plan’s Provisional Goals.


We developed a dynamic land use model that simulates a future city and is responsive to specific requirements from the City to allow conceptual, but data-supported insight into the impacts of policy decisions.

The model accounted for a range of possible building typologies allowable in envisioned policy areas across a range of densities, and it considers a number of urban growth parameters including:

  • The current building stock;

  • Area-specific population growth projections; and

  • Employment.


This model supported a variety of other projects, including Modelling the City's Climate Emergency Action Plan.

Case Study 3

School District Optimization


Planning for students at district level can be a fraught exercise: student populations can show high degree of variability year-over-year as they are highly responsive to demographic considerations  and real estate dynamics.  Significant research and modeling has been completed to determine population-level drivers of student growth (births & net migration), but most student forecasting omits or under-incorporates considerations with regards to real estate dynamics, municipal land use policy and urban growth and development more generally.   As such, many student forecasts are inaccurate or often reflect outdated assumptions regarding home occupancies.


To fill these gaps, we have developed a data-informed student forecasting model that leverages urban growth contexts, student data and measured housing preferences to provide accurate and highly resolved student forecasts. The model uses anonymized public school student data, lot-scale housing data and adopted/accepted municipal growth forecasts as well as considerable and well-informed input from municipal planners. Our forecasting allows for an enrollment forecast that is grounded in trends solely relating to urban growth and change, which can be used to support capital planning submissions as well as an adequate estimate of eligible dwelling units for potential school site acquisition charges. 


This modeling allows for: 

  • A projection that is responsive to changing development forecasts; 

  • Detailed geographic analysis of enrollment trends;  

  • Scenario/solutions development with regards to catchment configurations;, 

  • Facilities optimization; and 

  • Analysis of walking and bus routes for the best student experience.

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