Conceptually, block types will typically constitute a greater mix of uses than building types because they represent an entire city block (instead of just one parcel, like building types).

  • Block types can be made from both components AND building types, whereas building types can only be made from components.

Creating new components and types.

 When creating new components and/or types, you have two options: create one or make a copy of an existing one by using "Save As". Creating a copy can be useful for quickly creating a new type because it gives you a baseline.

Editing existing components and types. 

You can only edit types that have not been used to paint. Components and types that have been used to create types that have been painted with cannot be edited. You also cannot paint with types that exist in your project’s base canvas (depiction of existing land use). Once either a component or type is in use, you must SAVE AS (create a copy) to “edit” it. 

Editing a component that has been used to create a building or block type will have ripple effects, changing the attributes of any associated types. There are three ways to edit a type

  • Modify the proportions (weights) of its constituent parts (components or types), 
  • Edit the attributes of its constituent parts directly
  • A combination of these methods. 

Pay special attention when editing a component or type that has been used to build multiple types — this will affect the attributes of all its associated types.

Creating a new building or block type from the ground up 

Add a new building or block type. 

First, make sure you are on the Building type or Block type tab. Next, Select the "Add New" Icon

Building type editor.

You will now be viewing the Building/Block Type editor. All text boxes will be blank and value boxes will be zero. 

Unlike components, for which you must fill out information for every card, types are focused on blending, which automatically calculates derivative values for the land use type attribute cards.


  • Building/block type name - First, give your building/block type a name. Because building types are typically prototypes, the name will likely be something like “Low-rise office building” or “Large lot single-family home”
  • Land Use Category - Assign the building/block type to one of UF’s ten major Land Use Categories. For example, a single-family home would be Residential, a grocery store would be Commercial, and apartments above ground floor retail would be Mixed Use
  • Description (optional) - Provide a brief description.

Building/Block Type Summary

Nothing is able to be edited in the summary — it is a product of the information you will fill out in the other cards. As you enter values, the summary numbers will be calculated to give you a high-level overview.

  • Floor area ratio (FAR) - Ratio of total building floor area to total site area
  • Residential density  - Net number of dwelling units per acre (excluding non-developable area)
  • Population density - Net number of residents per acre
  • Employment density - Net number of employees per acre (excluding non-developable area)
  • Average gross floor area per employee - Occupied gross floor area (including passageways and lobbies) per employee.
  • Total parking - Total number of parking spaces.
  • Parking density - Parking spaces per 1000 square feet.

Components by Land Area

Building/block types are made here. Unlike components, you do not have to fill out the rest of the cards in the building/block types editor. 

The values on these cards are calculated based on the area-weighted blend of components (and, in the case of block types, building types as well) that you specify in the Components by land area card. Let’s step through how this works.

Using the Component Blending Card

  1. To start blending, Select the "Add Component" Icon. This opens a list of components in your project library that you can either scroll through or filter with the search box. 
  2. Select the component you want to use.
  3. This will add the component (or building type when creating a block type) to the card as a row. The first component is automatically set to 100% of land area for the new building/block type. 
  4. If you simply wish to promote the component to a paintable type, you can stop here. However, if you wish to create a blend, continue.
  5. Repeat steps one and two for each component you want to include in the blend.
  6. Set the proportion each component should make up of the building/block type, making sure that the sum of of the values is 100% (if they do not sum to exactly 100%, the type will not be usable).
  7. As you modify the weights, note how the values in the other cards change in response. Tweak the weights until the attributes displayed in the cards and the summary are what you want.
  8. Click SAVE.

You now have a building/block type to use for painting your scenarios.

Site Characteristics

Breakdown of the site area into its major built form elements. These must sum to 100% of the total land area.

  • Building Footprint - The proportion of the total site area that buildings comprise.
  • Structured Parking - The proportion of the total site area that structured parking (above ground, non-surface lot) comprises.
  • Surface Parking - The proportion that surface parking comprises of the total site area.
  • Other Hardscape - The proportion of the total site area that non-building and non-parking hardscape comprise.
  • Non-hardscape - The proportion of the total site area that non-hardscape comprises.
  • Irrigated - The proportion that irrigated area comprises of total non-hardscape area.
  • Non-irrigated - The proportion of total non-hardscape area that non-irrigated area comprises.

Building Characteristics

This card provides the key characteristics specific to structures built on the site.

  • Total gross area. Total area of all floors.
  • Number of floors. The number of floors (stories) in the building.
  • Height. Standard height per floor.
  • Residential vs. Non-Residential blending. Total floor area dedicated to  both gross and net area of residential and non-residential uses (excluding passageways and lobbies). The net area for both residential and non-residential uses is subdivided in the two subsequent cards, “Residential net floor area” and “Non-residential net floor area”.
  • Below-ground area (not parking). Square feet dedicated to non-parking area below ground.
  • Internal parking. Square feet dedicated to internal and underground parking (interdependent with Internal/Underground parking in the Parking card).

Residential Floor Area and Dwelling Units area

On this card, you can view the breakdown of the net residential floor area by type in terms of the unit density (number of dwelling units per acre) and the average square feet per dwelling unit.

Non-residential Employment area

On this card, you can view the breakdown the of net commercial floor area by sector in terms of employment density (number of employees per acre) and as a percentage of the total net non-residential floor area. 


This card is interdependent with both the site and building characteristic cards, defining the number of spaces for each type of parking.

  • Surface - The number (and size per space) are directly tied to the Surface parking values set in the Site characteristics card.
  • Structured - Non-surface parking in a structure that is separate from the associated building(s).
  • Internal/Underground - Like surface parking, structured parking inside buildings and underground is directly tied to the “Internal/Underground parking” area that is set in the Building characteristics card.

Using an existing building or block type to create a new one

Using an existing building or block type to create a new building/block type is like starting from the ground up, with two important differences: 

  1. You start with at least one already specified constituent component. To create a new one, all you have to do is edit the weights and add and/or remove components; and
  2. instead of using the SAVE button, you will use SAVE AS!

Therefore, you can use the guide to “Creating a component from the ground up” to create a component from an existing one (see section above).

Editing an existing building or block type

Building types that have been used to paint and/or make block or place types and block types that have been used to paint and/or make place types cannot be edited. 

Once a type is in use, you must SAVE AS (create a copy) to “edit” it. Editing a building/block type that has been used to create a block or place type will have ripple effects, changing the attributes of any associated types.

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