Urban Design & City Planning Software

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SketchUp 3D Software for Urban Design & City Planning

Are you interested in urban planning design software? This is where your voyage of discovery into city planning software begins. The idea is to make your design life so much easier by providing intuitive, easy to use tools and inspiring supporting resources to make the job faster, more efficient, more accurate – and more enjoyable.

SketchUp for urban planning is one of the most popular solutions to town design and city planning. It’s available for PCs and Macs, and you also get access to masses of vital pre-made materials, textures, objects and designs. Add it together and you get popular 3d city planning software with an enormous base of keen users. So let’s find out why they rate SketchUp so high.


Urban Design Software Overview

First, a brief overview of SketchUp for Urban design. This particular 3d city planning software gives you an impressive list of capabilities and tools designed to support great urban and city planning. The software makes the design process more intuitive, easier, faster and more exciting than ever before thanks to its ability to generate beautiful, hyper-real urban planning models in 2D plan form, as well as super-engaging animations, virtual reality and augmented reality presentation and walk-throughs. The result is fast, smooth drawing and truly stunning output that’ll help you convince clients and stakeholders and get the right sign-offs.


Software For Urban Design

SketchUp’s optimal 3D urban planning design software capabilities and extensions make it your perfect tool for urban design and city planning projects. Take Modelur, for example, a clever urban design extension and the ideal tool for urban designers and city planners. This free parametric urban design tool is seamlessly integrated into SketchUp for fast design creation and testing. It calculates parameters like the number of apartments and parking spaces in real time and comes with GIS data import and export capabilities, LiveSync with Excel and more. All this makes SketchUp one of the most popular 3d urban planning software solutions.


Import Satellite and Aerial Imagery

SketchUp contains a powerful built-in tool designed for importing terrain, previously based on Google Earth’s terrain data. These days it’s based on Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data, giving you a perfect representation of the earth’s surface without any coverings like trees, buildings, or other objects sitting on the surface. This DEM data comes from a variety of reliable sources including high resolution Lidar, an incredibly accurate way to determine what’s what by targeting an object or a surface with a laser then measuring the time it takes the reflected light to come back to the receiver. Import data like this and you’ll always have a super-accurate picture of the real-life ground you’re designing on.


Import 3D Terrain Data

SketchUp’s exciting geo-location tool adds to its city planning software capabilities. It lets you extract exact terrain imagery, import it, and modify it in any way you like. It’s a simple matter to Import contour lines even if they’re a raster image, basically tracing them in SketchUp. To import actual geometry, transform the contour lines into a triangulated irregular network or TIN with the From Contours tool. You can also easily import a polygon mesh into SketchUp from CAD programs like Autocad. It’s very like a TIN but the faces include more than three vertices. To edit the mesh, you use SketchUp’s Sandbox tools. As you can see, the software makes complex things a whole lot easier.


Leverage the 3D Warehouse

The immense SketchUp 3D warehouse provides an abundant resource for urban designers, created to save you time and hassle as well as fire your imagination. You’ll find pre-made designs to download for every imaginable urban design feature, from urban utility poles, road signage, roads, and bridges to paving, walls, trees and plants, plus masses of textures and materials to support your creative process. It’s all free for you to use and makes the software even more relevant to your 3d city planning software design life.


3D Urban Planning Software

SketchUp is known and loved for being unusually powerful 3d urban planning software. It comes with a wealth of extensions and plugins to enhance its usefulness, many of which do very specific tasks faster and better, handy shortcuts to make the task more of a pleasure. We’ve already mentioned Modelur, and there’s a lot more to tap into. The Instant Fence and Railing plugin from Vali Architect, for example, does exactly what it says on the tin, making a fast and easy job of designing fences and railings. Then there’s the presentation, which is awesome. SketchUp visualises and presents urban and city designs engagingly in 2d, 3d, VR, AR and walk-through formats.

Why Choose SketchUp For Urban Design & City Planning Software?

Create 3D visualization of concepts and designs you have stuck in your brain within minutes.
An award winning tool used worldwide by millions of digital designers passionate about creating real, 3D designs.
Impress your customers by creating immersive, explorable 3D models at the same cost as buying a coffee a day.

Verified Great Product & Great Service

I have used SketchUp for over 10 years in my interior design business and the simplicity of it is second to none, it is so easy for me to create floor plans and designs for my clients and it doesn’t break the bank!

Joanna - SketchUp User

I started with SketchUp when a builder introduced it to me as we were doing some work on our home in Bristol. This was around 10 years ago. I love playing with graphics and realised how quickly I could learn this as a tool. I’m not CAD trained so I am self taught at all the 2D work we produce. This has not limited the opportunities and CowPlan now employs two CAD specialists as part of our small team.

Ivor - CowPlan

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SketchUp For Urban Design & City Planning Software: Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a treat in store thanks to the popular free version of SketchUp. It gives you everything you need to get started with urban design, packed with tools and capabilities. Go for SketchUp Pro and there’s an even wider choice of tools and resources, making it the top choice for city design professionals the world over.
The short answer is a big yes. SketchUp easily and quickly imports designs from a wide range of popular CAD tools including AutoCad
The SketchUp 3D warehouse is stacked with wonderful free, pre designed objects, materials, textures and designs to support exceptional urban design and city planning. There’s more in the shape of a host of excellent SketchUp extensions and plugins to support your work.
Yes, and it’s a lot of fun as well. You’ll find the learning curve enjoyable, fast and intuitive, letting you design in no time without spending weeks getting to grips with it all. Professional-level designs are yours in no time, which makes learning SketchUp genuinely exciting.
It’s easy. You’ll love discovering all the online SketchUp learning resources created to help you hone your pro-level SketchUp for urban planning skills, including a load of really good free tutorials, some in writing and others available on video via YouTube.

Get cracking with SketchUp urban planning design software

Now you know the many ways SketchUp supports urban planning design excellence, your next task is to give it a go for yourself – and you’re going to love it. Would you like to treat yourself to the SketchUp Pro free 30 day trial? Here’s a link to the sign up form. We wish you a wonderful time exploring the potential!

SketchUp Pro

Free 7-Day Trial

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7-day SketchUp Pro trial now!  

The free trial download includes everything in a SketchUp Pro subscription package:

7-Day access to SketchUp’s free 3D software, SketchUp Pro for Desktop, LayOut, PreDesign and Style Builder, Augmented reality viewing on SketchUp Viewer for iOS and Android, Viewing on the following Mixed Reality (XR) applications: HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Hololens, and HP Windows Mixed Reality.

All you need is an internet connection to download SketchUp Pro and a Trimble ID – no credit card required

About Elmtec

With over 25 years’ experience in the digital design community, Elmtec is one of the leading suppliers of professional hardware and software. Our specialists offer product knowledge, industry experience and support to ensure we save your business time and money.

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