CAD Manager's Introduction to CityCAD

Brief introduction

CityCAD is a standalone Windows application designed for the following purposes:

  • Conceptual 3D urban design and planning of sites between 1 ha up to about 200 ha in size.
  • Automatic estimation and analysis of gross floor areas, unit numbers, energy use, trip generation, costs, values and many other outputs.
  • Real-time discussion of masterplan schemes and 'on screen' adjustments to design and data assumptions.


There are two kinds of CityCAD licenses:

  • Perpetual (no-expiry) licenses
  • Flexible subscriptions - these provide use of the software during the subscription, technical support and upgrades.

Free licenses are available for non-commercial academic use, and discounted single-user licenses are available. Please visit our online store for details.

System requirements

CityCAD requires:

  • Windows PC (We recommend at least 1GB of RAM, although increased performance will be noticed with additional hardware resources)
  • DirectX 9.0-compatible graphics card
  • Microsoft .NET and MDX (Managed DirectX for .NET). These will be installed automatically by the CityCAD setup file if not already installed.

CityCAD's hardware requirements are relatively modest compared to many current CAD and BIM applications, but if you intend to create complex 3D masterplans significantly more than 200 ha in size then we recommend workstation grade hardware.

Deployment, activation and network licensing

CityCAD is distributed as a single setup file which can be run to install CityCAD on a single PC. This will also install dependencies (Microsoft .NET and managed DirectX for .NET if not already installed on the PC).

Each copy of CityCAD can be activated once as a 30-day free trial. Thereafter, a valid license key will need to be entered. A license key will be provided with each purchased license and this can be used to activate CityCAD on 3 separate PCs. Once all 3 have been used, you will need to de-activate CityCAD on one of the first three PCs before it can be installed on a fourth PC.

User training

Tutorials are available online covering the basics of setting up CityCAD, creating models and performing analysis:

Updates and maintenance

New versions are released from time to time - normally every 2-3 months - and these are normally announced by an email sent to all license owners.

To update CityCAD, simply run the installer on each PC to update CityCAD to the latest version. New updates will not affect the license activation of existing installations.

Running the installer via the command prompt

To run the installer for CityCAD 2.6.10 via the command line, you can optionally add '-q' for silent install, and 'LicenseKey=s-3XXXXXXXq' to specify the activation key (replace 's-3XXXXXXXq' with your own license key):

"CityCAD 2.6.10 Setup.exe" -q LicenseKey=s-3XXXXXXXq

When the user opens CityCAD, the license key will already be entered, and they will just need to click 'Activate' on first use.

More information

For more technical details of CityCAD, including configuration files, internet access requirements, information storage and information exchange, please visit the Technical Summary in CityCAD Online Help.