UrbanForm Co-Founder Quang Truong describes his company as “Google Maps for zoning”. Browse through UrbanForm’s website and it is easy to understand the analogy. UrbanForm has created beautiful zoning maps that are fast, easy to use, and available via any internet browser. But spend a bit more time and you’ll realize UrbanForm is much more than a pretty map—UrbanForm uses AI to synthesize and summarize the zoning codes, pairing the maps with the text, allowing users to navigate the thousands of pages of zoning code much faster. This essentially saves weeks of zoning discovery and due diligence. Users can understand the zoning requirements of desired development areas at a high level instantly, which results in the acceleration of the development and building process.
The company was founded in 2020, after Truong, an architect by training, realized from his own experience that the process to understand local zoning regulations was cumbersome, time consuming, and error-prone. Zoning codes are fragmented across jurisdictions, each with its completely distinct rules, administration, and systems of access. This has become a big barrier to housing production and puts a strain on the human resources available in municipal offices to field requests for information. It can often take weeks to understand if a specific type of project is compliant and if so, whether it is viable for development. “UrbanForm saves a lot of time and allows people to think completely differently,” said Truong, adding, ”Digitizing this process across millions of parcels brings power and knowledge.”
UrbanForm’s technology sources, documents, and makes available relevant zoning regulations and building information, putting all the information at the user’s fingertips, instantly. Functionality includes interactive maps searchable by address, and pertinent zoning requirements, including height limits, setbacks, density, and lot coverage. This information allows users to more accurately estimate development feasibility in a fraction of the time. The company touts the end benefits of being able to respond more rapidly and knowledgeably to client inquiries with more accuracy.
UrbanForm, which also shares a home with the MMHF in the PIE space at Autodesk, is gaining momentum. They currently have zoning maps developed for the cities of Portland, Seattle, San Diego, and Austin, with plans to add more cities. Truong believes that UrbanForm will continue to revolutionize building and development. “The information that we provide can change the way the built environment operates,” he said. We have high hopes that UrbanForm’s impact will be felt for the missing middle target as well, helping to create more workforce housing while reducing the time and cost to build.
To learn more about UrbanForm’s innovative technology, please visit their website, https://www.urbanform.us