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Simulation and Evidence-Based Decision Making

Simulation is central to BuildingIN, providing critical insights and answering questions like: How many housing units can our city expect, and of what type? What will be the impact in terms of neighbourhood improvements? Municipal finance? Emissions reductions? The BuildingIN team has tested, simulated and compared numerous scenario outcomes, then reverse-engineered overlay regulations and municipal investments to meet housing need, and plan strategically for the next generation of low-rise housing for Canadians.

 

Our simulations put planning departments in the driver's seat. Decision makers can compare outcomes to targets, and plan upgrades with certainty. 

Our Program for municipalities is grounded in simulation and modeling. Our Community and Industry Workshops are constructive and collaborative; participants compare simulated outcomes to understand cause and effect, and draw conclusions that meet the needs of their communities. 

simulation housing

SIMULATING HOUSING SUPPLY AND DIVERSITY

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We simulate infill housing outcomes by analyzing the likely choices of developers, and the cumulative impact of these ongoing choices over time, as well as geographically across a city.  Once city planners are able to see potential outcomes, they can plan accordingly to meet housing targets, and invest in complimentary services. 

 

Infill housing simulation answers the question: If I were a developer, what would I build here, and here, and here? How many dwelling units, and of what size and type? How tall and wide would the buildings be? How much soft landscaping would there be around the buildings, and where would the new residents park?

BuildingIN infill housing simulation output is in a variety of formats. We provide maps that show where to anticipate new housing developments and at what densities. Our 3D library includes residential streets in older neighborhoods across Canada, so we can show new infill in context. And our Catalogue provides examples and shows dwelling unit types and sizes.

simulation fiscal

SIMULATING FISCAL SUSTAINABILITY

Municipalities are on the front lines of a growing and persistent housing crisis, at the same time that they are cash-strapped.  They collect 11% of all tax revenue and deliver 15% of all government services.  BuildingIN simulates the fiscal impacts of municipal choices; expected increased revenues and growing expenditures. We model existing scenarios, the impacts of upcoming regulatory changes, and the  fiscal gains that result from implementing BuildingIN.  

 

With additional infill development, municipalities can anticipate additional revenue from property taxes and, where applicable, development charges. Municipalities may also generate additional revenue from federal and provincial governments through meeting agreed housing targets. Greater infill densities require municipal spending in order to help targeted neighbourhoods to become more complete communities where people will want to live. 

This chicken-and-egg problem that has been a barrier to council commitments to fund upgrades, but simulations of housing and fiscal outcomes allow decisions makers to plan and execute upgrades with certainty.

simulation emissions

SIMULATING EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS

Cities play a key role in reducing emissions and they will have to be at the forefront of climate action, but of course municipal climate action is expensive and complicated.  BuildingIN simulates reductions of average household emissions associated with a variety of infill housing scenarios, and shows cities how to reduce household emissions in ways that are simple and at no cost. 

Of the 70% of global emissions attributed to cities, transportation is responsible for 40%. BuildingIN simulations highlight the emissions reductions in transportation; when older neighbourhoods reach transit-supportive densities, when there is money to invest in active transportation, and when communities become interesting dynamic places to live and shop.

35% of city emissions are from buildings. BuildingIN simulates emissions reductions from buildings, including emissions reductions resulting from shared walls, floors and ceilings in multi-unit infill — emissions reductions that exceed the best insulation. 

When cities make choices about housing, they are making choices about emissions. By encouraging more multi-unit infill housing, neighbourhoods will be cleaner and healthier. Simulations allow planners and community members to visualize the emissions impacts of housing decisions. 

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