Buenos Aires, Argentina(1)

2023-09-28 10:28:40

Ciudad 3D: a tool to promote urban development in the City of Buenos Aires



  • Population size: 3120612
  • Population Growth Rate(%): 4.00
  • Surface Area (sq.km): 200
  • Population Density (people/sq.km): 15150
  • GDP Per Capita (U.S.$): 8579
  • GINI Index: 0.39
  • Main Source of Prosperity: Services, transport and tourism



Ciudad 3D is a digital platform that displays in three dimensions what can be built in each neighborhood of Buenos Aires City, providing information on the makeup of each block, building plans, current construction procedures, possible impacts, the land use of each parcel, guaranteeing greater agility in the application of the city’s Urban Code.

Moreover, with the help of  Ciudad 3D, the capital gains tax of each project depending on the type of building, the use and potential edification and the certificate or inspections associated with a parcel can be calculated.




The initiative operates within a comprehensive framework that encompasses local legislation, national policies, international agreements, and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Locally, the initiative aligns with the Law of Urban Planning and Land Use of Buenos Aires, which establishes principles and criteria for urban development and land use; and the Law on Access to Public Information of Buenos Aires, which ensures citizens access to public information and promotes transparency in public administration.




The initiative overcomes some challenges such as the delay in the application of the urban code, because Ciudad 3D codifies the law in a three-dimensional map. Also, it simplifies inquiries digitally showing the urbanistic norms and helps to save time.


The goals in terms of desired change of the initiative include: 

-Within one year, streamlining the approval process for construction projects and document processing in the government to reduce the processing time from 25 to 5 business days.
-Increase access to information by doubling traffic to the website.
-Within one to five years, promoting the harmonious layout of the city and supporting economic revitalization, giving greater certainty to investment forecasts and encouraging the development of SMEs and local businesses.

It involves innovation in planning, construction and technology. Its been developed in open source, i.e. the source code can be downloaded and edited to adapt it. It's also based on the concept of the digital twin, which consists of a virtual replica that allows modeling and solving urban challenges. It's the result of a work of algorithm generation that translates the building rules of the Urban Code into simple volumetrics.


This is a public partnership in which the following were involved:

-Undersecretariat of Evidence-Based Public Policies (Secretariat of Innovation and Digital Transformation), who works on the development of functionalities, data processing and project management.

-Urban Interpretation Directorate (Secretariat of Urban Development), which participates in the design of the strategy and validates changes.

-Government Administration of Public Revenues, who provides information on the functional units.


The initiative has public funding from the government. A team of skilled professionals composed ofurban planners, GIS specialists, computer programmers and data analysts carried out the development and maintenance.


Open-source software tools were used to develop the platform, including Postgres with PostGIS, Python, GeoPandas, GDAL and QGIS for data management, spatial analysis and visualization. Also, experienced project managers and coordinators ensured that deadlines were met, resources were optimized and stakeholders were involved.



This initiative is revolutionary because the use of 3D technology is totally disruptive in Argentina and it implies a change of perspective in the use of digital tools that helps citizens to understand more clearly the maps of the City and also for the architects that have an improvement in their daily work. It also helps democracy, because it favors public service and access to information. To conclude, the digital platform provides the foundations for the future development of a "metaverse" city, where predictive and knowledge-generating urbanism becomes an operational reality.


The team managed to reduce time and optimize resources in the approval of construction projects and the processing of government files. Regarding Ciudad 3D traffic flow, at the beginning, it had six thousand users, today more than thirteen thousand.

The scale of change is mainly local and by addressing the needs and interests of the population, the initiative contributes to the overall well-being and quality of life of the city's residents.

To assess the impact, a multidisciplinary team within Argentinas government agency is collecting and analyzing various data and indicators. The main ones are related to traffic and platform usage. These indicators help people understand the level of engagement and effectiveness of the platform in providing valuable information to citizens. Some indicators the team tracks include website traffic, time reduction and user feedback. User interactions are being worked on for implementation.


By streamlining processes, reducing bureaucracy, and enhancing transparency, the initiative has simplified land development procedures and fostered a more efficient and inclusive urban development framework. The involvement of stakeholders and targeted focus on addressing bureaucratic challenges and improving access to contextual information have been instrumental for the initiative.


The initiative affects the entire population of the City of Buenos Aires (roughly 3 million people). It extends beyond specific demographic groups, as it strives to create a more sustainable, inclusive, and livable city for residents. It contributes to the overall well-being and quality of life of the residents.


Goals 9, 11 & 16: it´s an innovative project in terms of technology and makes the construction sustainable and resilient.

Goal 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions for all