2021 SAG Award Winners

Houseal Lavigne Associates and Houseal Lavigne Associates

Project Goal

The goal of this project was to assist the Village of Glen Ellyn in making informed decisions about development projects and how they may fit, or not fit, into the existing context of their cherished downtown. The immersive 3D application allows Village staff, elected officials, and decision makers to drop into Downtown Glen Ellyn and view a potential development from different perspectives, in scale with existing buildings and topography. The model is also used to understand the visual impact of regulatory decisions and to market specific locations for redevelopment and revitalization.
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Business Problem Solved

The Village’s previous site plan approval process reflected a typical process used by most communities - developers submit plan-view CAD drawings, elevations, and perspective renderings for review and approval. These traditional requirements make it difficult to accurately visualize and understand how a proposal may or may not fit into the existing context of Downtown. Local developers faced multiple challenges throughout the plan approval process due to increasing concerns and opposition regarding the proposed developments. This included perceived issues related to viewsheds, building heights, architecture style, parking location, and building materials. Village planners sought a new approach to better assist elected officials and decision makers. Using GIS, the Village developed a detailed 3D model of Downtown Glen Ellyn and amended their site plan approval process to assess development proposals more accurately in an immersive game-like experience.

Technology Implemented

ArcGIS Pro. GIS information for the entire community was brought into ArcGIS Pro along with LiDAR information from 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). Using the Esri’s Local Government 3D Base Map Solution, a 3D model of Downtown Glen Ellyn, including buildings and trees, was created in ArcGIS Pro. The geodatabase was then imported into ArcGIS CityEngine for further refinement.

ArcGIS CityEngine. ArcGIS CityEngine was used to enrich the environment beyond the 3D buildings and simple trees provided by ArcGIS Pro. Rules were written in in CityEngine to provide streets, curbs, gutters, sidewalks, paths, parking lots, and open space areas. The 3D models were exported from CityEngine for import into the Unreal Engine where the 3D immersive viewer application was created.

Development Team Biography

Devin Lavigne, FAICP
Devin is a nationally recognized innovative leader in the field of urban planning, with special expertise in urban design, physical planning, mapping and graphic illustration, development visualization, and geographic information systems. Devin is a co-founder of Houseal Lavigne Associates.

Nik Davis, AICP
Nik is a Principal at Houseal Lavigne, with more than 15 years of professional design and planning experience. Nik provides the connection between the plan making process and document creation, focusing on concept and site design, visualizations, visual communication, and 3D modeling.

Staci Springer, AICP
With nearly 30 year of experience in municipal planning, Staci Springer has been the Community Development Director for the Village of Glen Ellyn since 2004.

Kelly Purvis, AICP
Planning Manager Kelly Purvis has been a part of the Community Development team for approximately 6 years and oversees the Planning Division.