CityCAD for Planning Teams

CityCAD is a proven city information modelling solution for exploring, testing and communicating urban masterplans.

Unlike other CAD and GIS software, it was created for urban planners from the beginning, and makes it easy to create 3D models using tried and tested building types and urban typologies.

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What can it do for me?

CityCAD explained in four steps:

Step 1 - Import your existing information

Screenshot showing a base map imported into CityCAD
  • As part of your Planning Team package, we can help you import Ordnance Survey maps, aerial photography or conceptual masterplan drawings into your CityCAD model.
  • We can help you configure land use settings (custom land use types and housing categories, people per dwelling, parking standards, daily trips as well as sustainability and financial assumptions)
  • We can also set up a library of frequently used housing typologies and block types which can be easily applied to blocks in your model. 

Step 2 - Sketch and explore masterplan options

  • CityCAD is designed so you can visualize a 3D layout very quickly to explore ideas and discuss them with colleagues and stakeholders.
  • It does not require a great deal of CAD expertise and you can be up and running much more quickly than with other tools. Simply click to add objects from a library – including best practice housing block types and other features such as a Dutch-style cycle-friendly roundabout.
  • Draw streets and spaces, and blocks will be created automatically as you enclose areas on the ground.
  • If you are already familiar with other CAD tools such as SketchUp, you can create your own building types and import them into CityCAD.
  • Planning Team packages include a high level of technical support including multiple site visits where we can help you build your models and answer questions as you learn the software. We can also add other building, street and block types and objects appropriate to your area.

Step 3 - Test and evaluate your ideas

Screenshots showing how CityCAD can test quantities in a model
  • Analysis is normally the most time-consuming part of the urban design process, but CityCAD will automatically estimate key quantities such as floor areas, unit numbers and mix, residential densities and parking spaces automatically.
  • As you make changes to your 3D model, all data is updated automatically in real time.
  • This makes it possible to test a much larger number of options in less time and at less cost. By exploring more options, the quality of the finished design can be improved.
  • The more assumptions you enter into the model, the more analysis you can get out of it. For example, you can enter parking standards, energy and resource use assumptions and carbon conversion rates, and then keep track of whether you are meeting decarbonization goals.
  • Test your model against liveability criteria such as the maximum distance from a dwelling to a bus stop or an area of green space.
  • Use our other tools such as the city design library to compare your proposed streets with real-world streets of the same width.

Step 4 - Communicate your design to stakeholders

  • Use pre-set views to navigate around your model and explain the design.
  • Shade buildings according to attributes such as cost, density or energy use to highlight and discuss issues.
  • Make changes in real-time to answer ‘What if?’ questions – for example test whether a development may be able to cross-subsidize new community facilities if a higher density is permitted.
  • CityCAD presents design ideas in a conceptual way to encourage debate and improvements to the design.
  • Planning Team packages include a 250 GB quota of secure cloud storage for models, enabling collaboration and sharing of models between team members.

Why CityCAD?


Push zero-carbon design back up the priority list where it belongs.

Analysis of operational and embodied carbon in conceptual masterplans has been an integral part of our CityCAD software since its launch over ten years ago. We can also help you integrate analysis with your own models and data.

Pace of change

Planning authorities are under pressure to react instantaneously to an unpredictable and constantly changing environment where employment, mobility, service delivery and communications are evolving all the time.

CityCAD can help you respond more quickly to development opportunities and test a large number of options with greater confidence.


In a globalized world people, organizations and capital are increasingly mobile, and fierce competition now exists between cities to attract them.

CityCAD’s focus on best practice in urban design and its unique liveability analysis capabilities can help give your city a competitive advantage.


CityCAD is a proven way of communicating complex planning issues to both technical stakeholders and non-specialist audiences.

It will help you communicate a vision, predict benefits, report to elected representatives, and maintain trust in the ability of a democratic planning process to deliver quality design. 


Collaboration across specialisms and sectors is essential to successful placemaking. When launched in 2008, CityCAD was the first major CAD solution to bring together spatial design, planning, environmental and financial analysis. 

The cloud storage services built in to CityCAD 3.0 makes collaboration even easier.

Best practice

Best practice in urban design can be elusive, but CityCAD was designed from scratch as a conceptual urban modelling tool.

Tried-and-tested urban block typologies and street types are built in into the software and a growing library of components will offer a short-cut to best practice in your designs.

The Planning Team Package

Newly introduced in 2020, we are pleased to announce a new package for planning policy teams in the UK.

This licence includes:

  • On-site installation and training.
  • Review of monitoring and other requirements.
  • Project and model setup assistance.
  • CityCAD site licence for up to 50 PCs.
  • 3 × ½-day follow-up site visits to provide support during each year of your subscription.
  • Dedicated technical support contact.

Installation and training

One of our consultants will work with your technical staff on site to install CityCAD and create accounts for your team members.

We will provide training for both planning staff and IT administrators, explaining how to manage users, manage projects, change configuration settings, manage land uses, build CityCAD models.

We can also describe how CityCAD can be used to share and discuss models with colleagues and other stakeholders.

Review requirements

We will review your requirements, whether it is creating conceptual layouts for new masterplans, testing site capacities, or reviewing existing policies, and configure CityCAD accordingly.

If the functionality you need is not available in the standard version of CityCAD, we can prepare options for customizing the solution.

We will also discuss your annual monitoring policies and requirements so that CityCAD can generate information outputs in a useful form.

Project and model setup

We will work with you on site to set up projects and models of individual development sites.

As part of this, we can import your existing mapping or survey data on to the ground in your CityCAD model. You can then sketch streets, buildings and add models on top of this base.

If you have 3D models of the surrounding area in DXF or a similar format, we can also import these into CityCAD to provide context to your development sites.

Would you like to quickly explore 3D ideas and test the capacity of sites?

CityCAD is easy to use and you can start with no CAD experience.

Join us for live 30-minute zoom webinar at 4pm (UK) on Thursday 27th August.

For more information, or to arrange a demonstration, please contact us at