Building Land Use Scenarios

Build scenarios to represent alternative land use options.

UrbanFootprint scenarios are used to examine the impacts of land use and development change, technological or policy change as expressed through analysis parameters, or some combination of these. This article focuses on using the scenario building toolset to develop land use alternatives, including an overview of scenarios and scenario building features, and steps on how to build a scenario.

Scenarios are defined by applying or 'painting' Building Types and/or Place Types to canvas features. Before you start developing scenarios, it's important to review the land use types and library settings that you will be using. You may use the default set of types that come loaded with UrbanFootprint, or you may choose to create your own. For more information, see Building and Place Types.

Scenario Building Features

The controls used to develop scenarios are located on the Build tab of the Layer Details pane for the Scenario Canvas layer.

The Build tab includes the following controls:

Selection. Summarizes the currently selected canvas features. The first line includes a count of the features selected, along with the count of features in the entire project area canvas. The second line indicates the total developable area within the selected features, and the total for constrained area, if any. Constrained area is determined by the application of constraints, which restrict parcels or blocks from development in their entirety or not at all. For more information about constraints, see Defining Constraints.

Type. Clicking opens either the Building Types or Place Types selection window, from which you can select a type to paint with. Types are listed in alphabetical order, by Land Use Summary (L1) category. L1 categories include Mixed Use, Residential, Commercial, Industrial/Warehouse, Civic/Institutional, Transportation/Utilities, Open space, Vacant/Other, Agriculture, Natural resources, Natural/Conservation, and Water.

You can see more details about a type by clicking the arrow in the upper right corner of an entry. The Building Types menu is shown below with the details expanded for one of the types. Building Type details include:

  • Density (net). Includes net residential and employment densities, which are measured over parcel area.

  • Building/Parcel information. Summarizes basic characteristics about the building type, including the average number of floors, floor area ratio (FAR), and building coverage.

  • Building Use Mix. Summarizes the building floor area distribution among five use categories: Residential, Retail, Office, Industrial, and Other (including Public and other non-residential uses).

Building Types selection window

Place Type details include:

  • Density. Includes net and gross residential and employment densities. Net densities are measured over parcel area, while gross densities are measured over gross area inclusive of rights of way.

  • Land Use Information. Summarizes the distribution of land between parcels and streets, parks, and civic areas.

  • Residential Mix. Summarizes the distribution of housing, if applicable, by housing type; types include single family large lot, single family small lot, townhome, and multifamily.

  • Employment Mix. Summarizes the distribution of employment by broad sector: Retail, Office, Industrial, and Other.

Place Types selection window

Recently Used. These three entries allow you to quickly select a recently used type to paint with.

Program. Land use program information appears when you select a type to paint with. The table includes counts of dwelling units (DU), population, and employment within the selected feature(s) for four conditions:

  • Base. DU, population, and employment in the Base Canvas.

  • Net Change. The net change in DU, population, and employment between the Base and future conditions.

  • Future. DU, population, and employment that the feature(s) would contain if painted with the currently selected type.

  • Painted. DU, population, and employment that have already been allocated through paints in the scenario. If the feature(s) have not been painted, the values will be 0. You can compare the development capacity associated with different types

Paint x features. Click to paint the x selected feature(s).

Revert x to base. Click to revert the x painted feature(s) in the selection to the Base Canvas condition.

Undo arrow. Click to undo your last paint (which may have been applied to a selection of features that is no longer current).

Redo arrow. Click to redo a paint that has been undone.

Scenario Canvas Summary Charts

The four charts in this section provide summarized information about new development in your scenario, serving to gauge progress as you paint. The bars in each chart are stacked to indicate counts for the base and increment (growth, or net positive change) or decrement (loss, or net negative change), which together amount to total future development. Rolling over the bars displays counts for the base and increment or decrement. The counts displayed on the chart indicate the endstate totals for the scenario, along with the net change represented by scenario paints. The charts include:

Summary. Shows total population, dwelling units, and employment.

Dwelling Units by Type. Shows counts of single-family detached, single-family attached (townhome), and multifamily units.

Employment by Sector. Shows counts of employment by sector, including retail, office, public, industrial, agriculture/extraction, and military.

Building Square Feet by Type. Shows amounts of residential, retail, office, public, and industrial building floor area, in square feet.

How to Build a Land Use Scenario

To build a land use scenario:

1. Create a new scenario, if you haven't already.

2. Click the tab of the scenario you will be working on.

3. Activate the Scenario Canvas layer. The Scenario Canvas represents your scenario. When you create a new scenario from the Base Scenario, the Scenario Canvas is created as a copy of the Base Canvas.

4. Symbolize the Scenario Canvas layer on the 'Land Use Type (L4)' column. This column contains the Building and/or Place Type classifications for the Base Canvas.

5. Enter Build mode by clicking the Build iconin the Mode bar. Alternatively, you can enter Build mode by activating the Scenario Canvas layer and selecting the Build tab in the Layer Details pane. The Build controls appear in the Layer Details pane.

6. Select one or more features on the Scenario Canvas to paint. You can select features using the manual selection tools, or apply filters and/or joins to select features based on particular criteria -- for example, vacant parcels, parcels within walking distance of transit, or underutilized parcels suitable for redevelopment.

7. Click either the Building Types or Place Types button to open a type selection window. The Building Types or Place Types selection window will appear.

8. Select a type to paint with. The menu entry for each type indicates the residential and employment densities. You can click the expand arrow in the upper right corner to see more details. Select a type and the window will close.

9. Review the program summary corresponding to your selection. The summary contains dwelling unit (DU), population, and employment counts associated with the selected features and type to be painted. You can use this information to decide whether to paint or change your selections.

10. To paint your feature(s) as selected, click the Paint x features button. The feature(s) will be painted accordingly. The paint will be reflected in the Painted row of the Program table, in the scenario canvas summary charts, on the map, and in the Data Table.

11. To make any changes, use the Revert x to base, Undo, or Redo controls. Reverting effectively returns features to their base condition. Undo and redo are applied to your sequence of past actions, independent of the features that are currently selected.

12. As you continue to select and paint features, track scenario development progress using the scenario canvas summary charts. This is useful if you are building scenarios to meet control totals for new growth.

13. Enter Report mode and select Summary Statistics to view comparative statistics for your scenario. The charts in this mode allow you to compare scenarios with each other.

14. Enter Analysis mode and run analysis modules as needed. You can run analysis to gauge impacts, for example land consumption, as you develop a scenario. Note that once you make land use changes any prior analysis runs will become outdated; the status as to whether results are current or outdated is indicated in Analysis and Report modes.

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