Integrate ArcGIS Urban with CityEngine

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

  • Import ArcGIS Urban plans or projects (parcels, zoning and overlays layers, and 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 in an ArcGIS Urban project.

Import a plan or project

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

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

    A list of available plans and projects displays.

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

    • A CityEngine scene is created.
    • All scenarios, parcels, and zoning and overlays layers are imported into the scene.
    • A section of the basemap, satellite map imagery, 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 ArcGIS Urban settings. 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 must synchronize the changes in CityEngine to upload them to ArcGIS Urban. When you synchronize the scene, it is also updated with changes from the ArcGIS Urban version.

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

  • Adding or deleting a new scenario is also synchronized.
  • CityEngine doesn't check for locks on a scenario when it synchronizes; 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 box appears and you must choose which version you want to keep; the other version is discarded.

Enable sync between CityEngine and ArcGIS Urban

To allow synchronization between CityEngine and ArcGIS Urban, you must configure the project or plan in the ArcGIS Urban settings.

To enable sync, do the following:

  1. Open the project or plan you want to sync.
  2. On the project or plan detail card, do one of the following:
    • Click the Settings button Settings. Under Options, click the Enable sync check box.
    • On the project or plan detail card, do the following:
      1. Click Open.
      2. Click the name of the project or plan at the top of the page.
      3. Click Configure.
      4. Under Options, click the Enable sync check box.


Only owners of the project or plan can enable sync.

Publish Urban scene layers

You can publish CityEngine models as scene layers and link them as external layers to an ArcGIS Urban plan or project scenarios. The scene layers appear in ArcGIS Urban when you switch scenarios in the Projects or Plans 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 in the Scene Editor or the Viewport pane.
    • 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 are linked to the scenario.

    • If the scene layer is already 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.

Generate plausible buildings

in ArcGIS Online, you can generate plausible buildings of developed parcels similar to that in ArcGIS Urban. When you open CityEngine, the latest ArcGIS Urban rule is automatically applied to your parcels.

Parcels Inspector

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

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 override suffix 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

To change the building type for the selected parcel, click the Building type combo box and select the new type from the list.


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.