Urban Pattern: Layout Design by Hierarchical Domain Splitting



Yong-Liang Yang


Jun Wang


Etienne Vouga

Columbia Univ.

Peter Wonka




We present a framework for generating street networks and parcel layouts. Our goal is the generation of high-quality layouts that can be used for urban planning and virtual environments. We propose a solution based on hierarchical domain splitting using two splitting types: streamline-based splitting, which splits a region along one or multiple streamlines of a cross field, and template-based splitting, which warps pre-designed templates to a region and uses the interior geometry of the template as the splitting lines. We combine these two splitting approaches into a hierarchical framework, providing automatic and interactive tools to explore the design space.



Starting from a polygonal region and user-prescribed design elements (top left), we hierarchically subdivide the input region using streamline-based and template-based splitting operations. Selected templates are shown on the bottom left, the final layout in the middle, and a simulated 3D construction on the right.
Various automatic results generated by our framework. Initial constraints are shown in yellow. While we can solve all regions with high quality, the third layout from the left has too many parks. For this layout, interactive post-processing should be used to change some parks to residential areas.

Garden layouts, including bushes, trees, driveways, swimming pools, and building footprints can also be modeled in our framework (see the related templates in the supplemental material).

Three design variations for the same region starting from different user constraints (highlighted by the yellow roads).




We are grateful to Helmut Pottmann for his many useful suggestions at various stages of the work; Mohamed Shalaby for valuable discussions, his help with Fig. 2 and the design of the garden templates; and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments. We thank Pascal Muller for providing the CityEngine results; Yoshihiro Kobayashi for the 3D rendering of the teaser image; Charlotte Rakhit for the video voiceover; Virginia Unkefer for carefully proofreading the paper; and John Peponis and Lars Hesselgren for discussions on urban planning and layout quality metrics. This project was funded by KAUST, NVIDIA, Google, and the National Science Foundation.


  title = {Urban Pattern: Layout Design by Hierarchical Domain Splitting},
  author = {Yang, Yong-Liang and Wang, Jun and Vouga, Etienne and Wonka, Peter},
  journal = {ACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2013)},
  volume = {32},
  issue = {6},
  pages = {Article No. xx},
  year = {2013}
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