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ArcGIS Urban integration

ArcGIS Urban in CityEngine allows you to do the following:

  • Import ArcGIS Urban plans or projects (parcels, zoning and overlays layers and the scenarios)
  • Edit the imported layers and scenarios and synchronize the changes with ArcGIS Urban
  • Publish CityEngine models as scene layers to ArcGIS Online and attach them to a scenario of an ArcGIS Urban plan or project

Select an Urban model

When you use ArcGIS Urban the first time in CityEngine, you must select which Urban model to import your project or plans from.

  1. Set the active portal.
  2. Sign in to the portal.
  3. Click Edit > Preferences in the main menu.
  4. In the Preferences dialog open Network > Urban.

    This shows a list of all Urban models to which you have access.

  5. Select the model you want to use for import.
  6. Click OK.

Repeat these steps if you want to change the Urban model.

Import a plan or project

  1. Open the Navigator and click on the Urban tab ArcGIS Urban icon.

    A list of plans and projects opens for the selected Urban Model.

  2. Right-click a plan or project and select Import as Scene.
    • A new CityEngine scene is created.
    • All scenarios and the parcels, zoning and overlays layers are imported into the scene.
    • Additionally, a section of the basemap and elevation data is imported.
    • The scene is named after the imported project or plan.
    • The scene is stored in a CityEngine project named after the city name configured in the settings of the ArcGIS Urban. If the CityEngine project doesn’t exist it is created.

Synchronize changes with ArcGIS Urban

After you make changes to the scenarios or shapes in the imported scene you need to synchronize in CityEngine to upload these changes to ArcGIS Urban. When you synchronize the scene it is additionally updated with changes from the ArcGIS Urban version.

To synchronize, click ArcGIS Urban > Synchronize all scenarios in the main menu.

  • All changes in scenarios are synchronized.
  • Adding or deleting a new scenario is also synchronized.
  • CityEngine doesn't check if a scenario is locked by its owner when synchronizing; changes to locked scenarios are also uploaded.
  • Changes to the "Existing” scenario are uploaded.
  • If a shape or scenario has been modified in both the scene and ArcGIS Urban, a dialog is displayed and you must decide which version you want to keep; the other version is discarded.

Publish Urban scene layers

You can publish CityEngine models as scene layers and link them as external layers to ArcGIS Urban plan or project scenarios. The scene layers are shown in ArcGIS Urban when switching scenarios in the Projects or Plans details view.

  1. In the Scene Editor, activate the scenario for which you want to publish models.
  2. Select the models you want to publish in the Scene Editor or the Viewport .
    • You can publish generated models and/or static models.
    • Shapes are not exported.
  3. Click > ArcGIS Urban > Publish selected models to Urban Scene Layer in the main menu.

    The models are published to a Scene Layer and linked to the scenario.

    • If a Scene Layer is already linked to the scenario you have the choice to replace it or not.
    • After publishing is finished in CityEngine, the Scene Layer may not be immediately visible in ArcGIS Urban because the publishing is still running on ArcGIS Online.
    • If you want to see how the Scene Layer looks in ArcGIS Urban, you can click ArcGIS Urban > Open in Web browser in the main menu. This opens ArcGIS Urban in your browser and selects the imported plan or project. You need to sign in to ArcGIS Urban if you are not signed in.

Generate plausible buildings

You can generate plausible buildings of developed parcels similar to what is in the ArcGIS Urban application in ArcGIS Online.

Currently the rule to generate these buildings must be manually assigned to the parcels:

  1. Select the parcel for which you want to generate the plausible building.
  2. Click Shapes > Assign Rule Files....
  3. Open the ESRI.lib/rules/Urban/V1.0.4/ folder in the file selection dialog.

    If there isn't a Urban folder in ESRI.lib/rules you must update ESRI.lib first.

  4. If the parcels building type is a single building, select Future_Developments_Single.rpk; otherwise select Future_Developments_Multi.rpk and click Open.
  5. Click Generate models (Ctrl + G) Generate

Parcels Inspector

When a parcel is selected, the Inspector displays a Parcels section instead of Object Attributes. The selected parcels zoning attributes are shown as they are in the ArcGIS Urban online application.

Override zoning attributes

You can override zoning attributes for the selected parcel by entering the new value in the text box. An overridden zoning attribute is indicated by the suffix override in the attribute label. To reset an overridden attribute, click the drop-down menu in the combo box and select Remove override.

Change building types

You can change the building type for the selected parcel by clicking the Building type combo box and selecting the new type from the list.


It is not possible to edit the list of building types or the parameters of a building type in CityEngine. To change building types,you can edit them in ArcGIS Urban and synchronize with your CityEngine scene. This updates the list of building types in the CityEngine scene.