ArcGIS Urban integration

Using ArcGIS Urban in ArcGIS CityEngine allows you to do the following:

  • Import ArcGIS Urban plans (building spaces, existing buildings, zoning and overlay boundaries, and scenarios) in ArcGIS CityEngine.
  • Edit the imported parcel layers and save the changes to ArcGIS Urban.
  • Publish CityEngine models as scene layers to ArcGIS Online and link them to a scenario in an ArcGIS Urban plan.

Import a plan

To import a plan from ArcGIS Urban to CityEngine, complete the following steps:

  1. Set the active portal.
  2. Sign into the portal.
  3. Open the Navigator window and click the ArcGIS Urban tab ArcGIS Urban.

    A list of available ArcGIS Urban models containing plans and projects displays.

  4. Right-click a plan and select Import as new Scene.

    • A CityEngine project is created.
    • All scenarios, with building spaces, parcels, existing buildings, zoning and overlay layers are imported into a scene.
    • A terrain layer with the basemap and satellite imagery map is imported.

    • The scene is named after the imported plan.
    • The scene is stored in a CityEngine project named after the ArcGIS Urban model configured in the ArcGIS Urban settings. If the CityEngine project doesn’t exist, it is created.

Get changes from ArcGIS Urban

After making changes to zoning regulations and parcel developments in ArcGIS Urban, you can overwrite selected scenarios in the imported scene with those updates. Additionally, you can import new scenarios from ArcGIS Urban to the imported scene.

To get the changes from ArcGIS Urban, click ArcGIS Urban > Get changes from Urban in the main menu.

The Get changes from ArcGIS Urban dialog box appears:

Get changes from ArcGIS Urban dialog box
Get changes from ArcGIS Urban dialog box


Save changes with ArcGIS Urban

After you make changes to the parcel shapes and their parcel attributes in the imported scene, you can save those changes to ArcGIS Urban.

To save the changes to ArcGIS Urban, click ArcGIS Urban > Save changes to Urban in the main menu.

The Save changes to ArcGIS Urban dialog box appears:

Save changes to ArcGIS Urban dialog box
Save changes to ArcGIS Urban dialog box


Publish ArcGIS Urban scene layers

You can publish CityEngine models as scene layers and link them as external layers to an ArcGIS Urban plan scenario as design context. The scene layers appear in ArcGIS Urban when you switch scenarios in the Projects details view.

  1. In the Scene Editor window, activate the scenario for which you want to publish models.
  2. Select the models you want to publish.
    • You can publish generated models and 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 can be linked to the scenario.

    • If the scene layer is linked to the scenario, you can choose to replace it.
    • When publishing is complete in CityEngine, the scene layer may not be immediately visible in ArcGIS Urban because the publishing is still running on ArcGIS Online.
    • To see how the scene layer looks in ArcGIS Urban, 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 must sign in to ArcGIS Urban.

Existing buildings

The default layers of the imported ArcGIS Urban plan contain buildings outside of its study area as design context. The default Existing scenario contains an Existing Buildings layer showing the existing conditions. All other scenarios contain a copy of the Existing Buildings layer, in which the buildings are removed on demolished or redeveloped parcels, and inside demolished areas defined in ArcGIS Urban.

Existing buildings can be imported into CityEngine if the Existing Building scene Layer has an accompanying feature layer. When a feature layer is not available, CityEngine suggests to download Open Street Map building footprints.

Building spaces

The scenarios have a Spaces group layer with Building shape layers containing the spaces. Spaces are represented as floor plate or surface shapes. By default, a rule from the ESRI.lib project gets assigned that creates a space volume colored by space-use type. See Develop a parcel in ArcGIS Urban Help for more information.

Generate plausible buildings

In CityEngine, you can generate future buildings of developed parcels similar to that in ArcGIS Urban. You need to assign to your parcels the latest ArcGIS Urban rule located in the /ESRI.lib/rules/urban project folder.

Parcels Inspector

When you select a parcel, the Inspector window displays the Parcels Attributes section instead of Object Attributes. At the top, there is a dedicated Zoning section that indicates the zoning designation as defined in ArcGIS Urban and allows you to define overrides for effective regulations.

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 attribute value shown in the bold font. To reset an overridden attribute, click the drop-down menu and select Remove override.

Change building types

To change the building type for the selected parcel, go to the Parcels Attributes section and click the Building Type drop-down menu and select the new type from the list. Ensure Development Type is set to Set Building Type.


You cannot edit the list of building types or the parameters of a building type in CityEngine. To change building types, edit them in ArcGIS Urban and synchronize them with your CityEngine scene. This updates the list of building types in the CityEngine scene.