VU.CITY Manchester

Greater Manchester’s built environment has now entered the digital age. VU.CITY Manchester - accurate to 15cm and spanning 159 sq km - is helping the built environment sector across the UK collaborate virtually in making better design and planning decisions, faster. Beyond the city centre, we have now modelled Salford, Trafford, Stockport and Rochdale.

Nicknamed Europe’s ‘economic boomtown’, the Manchester city centre economy is forecast to be worth more than £6bn annually by 2025. Meanwhile, across the Greater Manchester region, annual growth of 4.3% is forecast, compared to the national rate of 3.6%.

To fuel this growth, Architects, Planners, Developers and Local Authorities are embracing the digital revolution in planning with the UK’s most accurate digital twin.





Architects, such as SimpsonHaugh, have realised that the quickest way to visualise a development in context, is through VU.CITY. Its features, paired with various data layers, are not only helping them save time, but also money. To prevent costs and subscriptions to data sources spiralling out of control in the long term when assessing whether a site is feasible, more and more Architects are making the change now.

In VU.CITY Manchester, Architects have loved using:

  • AOD Tool - as a way of inspecting topography of your site with incremental increases on height
  • Consented Schemes Timeline - as a way of giving context to the future of the surrounding area
  • The custom model import tool - allowing you to import your models from external 3D software (such as Revit, Rhino, SketchUp & 3ds Max)


Developers such as Quintain and Canary Wharf, have also embraced VU.CITY, realising the huge amount of time and money saved in the planning process. In digitizing their process with the VU.CITY platform, they’ve not only been able to satisfy their in house Architects’ needs, but also have been able to better communicate with external architectural practices and local authorities. With VU.CITY, their collaboration is virtual yet seamless, and it’s happening now. With new legislation indicating a digital emphasis for the future, many developers have already made the smart move to position themselves early on as pioneers, comfortable in putting planning applications forward using 3D Digital Twin technologies. 

To speed up the planning process across Greater Manchester, Developers have utilized:

  • Data Layers (such as Conservation Areas and Greater Manchester Accessibility Levels)
  • The Create tool - allowing accurate massing to be built in the 3D environment

Planning Consultants

Before modernising their process and embracing VU.CITY, many planning consultants were struggling to visualise sites in client or pre-application meetings whilst working remotely. VU.CITY’s highly accurate 3D visualisation, paired with the platform’s compatibility with nearly all types of modelling software when importing models, has been the perfect antidote to the obstacles planning consultants have faced over the past year. As with the whole sector now, many planning consultants have looked to digitize their processes.

VU.CITY has now become a staple to their business’ resilience; helping them stay flexible with game-changing features like:

  • Tagging - ensuring any potential issues ahead of pre-apps or committees can be continually discussed and tackled 
  • The custom model import tool (supporting AutoCAD, Rhino, Revit, SketchUp, 3ds Max)

Local Authorities

VU.CITY has established relationships with many local authorities in the ever growing Greater Manchester region. Salford City Council, Rochdale Borough Council and Stockport Council for 3 years, have been using VU.CITY Manchester’s array of 3D visualisation tools to ensure swift decision making in a planning process with increased transparency. VU.CITY Manchester’s constantly evolving toolset has ensured that in one platform local authorities are now reacting faster, with new data in a collaborative, virtual, yet highly accurate 3D environment. 

Some of the top features that local authorities are exploiting in VU.CITY Manchester to assess proposals include:

  • Camera Studies - place your camera anywhere in VU.CITY and see the views - whether it be out of a window, on street level or on top of a building
  • ZTV (Zone of Theoretical Visibility) - instantly see where people can view your proposal from

Manchester Data Layers

VU.CITY manchester accessibility
Greater Manchester Accessibility Levels
VU.CITY manchester housing
Housing Land
VU.CITY manchester industrial
Industrial Land
VU.CITY manchester buildings
Listed Building Points
VU.CITY manchester authorities
Local Authorities
VU.CITY manchester office land
Office Land
VU.CITY manchester heritage sites
Locally Listed Heritage Sites
vucity manchester conservation areas
Conservation Areas

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