Doctoral Research

3D Modeling

Dissertation Title:
Exploring Geodesign: Using Three-dimensional Parametric Modeling Techniques in Conjunction with Two-dimensional Land Use Models to Better Visualize Future Growth

Increasing evidence suggests that population increase is related to various challenges human character. Ehrlich and Holdren (1971) stated the tight relationship between population growth and environmental issues, including “disproportionate negative impact on the environment” (p.1212), resources allocation challenges, economic status of the region, etc. Responding to this issue, various urban allocation models have been proposed to assist with better decision making. However, there lacked an effort to identify proper allocation sites considering both physical suitable land, and quality of life improvement. Also, existing land-use and population allocation models typically allocate future employment and residential population in two-dimensions (2D). Missing the opportunity to provide three-dimensional (3D) buildings for employment and residential use. While population and employment projections inform planners about the future growth of the city, planners still need to make decisions about where and to what extent the future growth will be allocated. A more comprehensive yet flexible method is needed to provide support for planning decision making in three dimensions, and to provide greater flexibility for 3D visualization.

This research aims to detect potential land-use development opportunities based on a quality of life index and land use suitability analysis. Additionally, the research creates a workflow to automatically visualize and simulate future land-use and population allocations in 3D.

dissertation objectives

Here are the criteria for the newly proposed Quality of Life Index (QOLI)


Once each of the QOIL components are calculated, they are combined using the following method to create unique 3-digit number combinations. The number on each digit represents the score (1 – 3) for that specific measurement criteria. For examples, an area with score of 331 means that this area receives the highest score for its accessibility to transit, the highest score for its sociodemographic composition, and lowest score for urban form. This indicates that the urban form of this area can be improved to increase the quality of life of local residents.

This is City of Tampa’s QOLI scores.


After allocating future population and employment to the potential suitable sites, the growth opportunities for the city are shown as below.

CityEngine was used to create the 3D future urban forms for Tampa. I created several rules to automatically create building footprints, building shape and forms based on number of residents, and the number of employees of various job categories allocated to the parcels.