Tool: Envision Tomorrow Plus


Latest version: 3.0 (for ArcGIS 10/10.1 only)
Requires ArcGIS 10 or greater
Cost: Free Download


University of Utah’s Envision Tomorrow Plus wiki
Wasatch Choice 2040 ET Plus Description
Documentation (available on Download page)


From Opening Access to Scenario Planning Tools, published by the Lincoln Institute for Land Policy:

Envision Tomorrow began as a proprietary toolkit used in the national planning practice of Fregonese Associates, Inc. Over time demand increased for an open source version usable by clients at different scales. At its core, Envision Tomorrow is a Microsoft Excel and ArcGIS-based modeling and evaluation tool that analyses growth and development scenarios at a range of scales from neighborhood to regional.

It utilizes several components to develop and evaluate land use scenarios. The Prototype Builder is able to design buildings and site plans and test their physical and financial feasibility at a local level. It can be used to estimate the physical and financial feasibility of development regulations based on a range of factors including parking, height and use requirements, costs associated with construction, fees, rents, and subsidies.

Although building prototype analysis alone can be used for small-scale site scenarios, the prototypes can also be combined, along with open spaces, streets, and civic uses to create a series of development types, such as main street, mixed-use neighborhood, and strip commercial. The development types then form the basis for land use scenarios at the district, city, county, and regional scale.

With the Scenario Builder component, users can “paint the landscape” to allocate these development types across a study area. This component concurrently allows the creation and comparison of up to five land use scenarios. An Excel-based scenario spreadsheet is dynamically linked to the tool and maintains the scenario outputs such as housing mix in a series of tabs for quick comparison. Changes made to a scenario are automatically reported in the spreadsheet for instant monitoring. Users can focus on small areas for detailed design control or zoom to a larger scenario with the small area changes intact. Detailed scenario results are exportable and reportable at any geography.

Envision Tomorrow has been used to design small single-parcel alternatives for cities such as Tulsa (figure 11), as well as regional scenarios for the Chicago and Southern California areas. It does not include an internal travel model, but is frequently used in conjunction with an external travel model.

Utah’s Wasatch Front Regional Council received a Sustainable Communities grant from HUD to fund Envision Tomorrow’s move to open source and establish a permanent home at the University of Utah. This grant is also funding the expansion of a set of tools, known as Envision Tomorrow+, which includes 18 modules covering transportation, housing, economics, environment, and other planning elements. The modules are being released as they are completed, with anticipated release dates during 2012 and 2013.


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