Developing a Parametric Urban Design Tool: Some Structural Challenges and Possible Ways to Overcome Them

Nicolai Steinø, Esben Obeling

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article in JournalResearchpeer-review

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Parametric urban design is a potentially powerful tool for collaborative urban design processes. Rather than making one- off designs which need to be redesigned from the ground up in case of changes, parametric design tools make it possible keep the design open while at the same time allowing for a level of detailing which is high enough to facilitate an understan- ding of the generic qualities of proposed designs.

Starting from a brief overview of parametric design, this paper presents initial findings from the development of a parametric urban design tool with regard to developing a structural logic which is flexible and expandable. It then moves on to outline and discuss further development work. Finally, it offers a brief reflection on the potentials and shortcomings of the software – CityEngine – which is used for developing the parametric urban design tool.
Original languageEnglish
JournalArchitecturae et Artibus
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)51-57
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventHybrid Environment for Architecture: eCAADe International Workshop and Regional Conference - Bialystok University of Technology, Bialystok, Poland
Duration: 9 May 201410 May 2014


ConferenceHybrid Environment for Architecture
LocationBialystok University of Technology


  • parametric design
  • urban design
  • building footprint
  • sequential hierarchy
  • design tools


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