References for Urban Scale?

Does anyone know of a resource that lists typical dimensions of urban objects? Buildings, city blocks, streets, maybe vehicles, fire hydrants, etc? I’m trying to make a city, and I want to be sure that the scale of things is at least somewhat accurate.

typical building story is ~3m tall. sidewalks are about 1.5-2m. streets vary, say one lane is about 4m or so.
best thing would be to take a tape measure and go for a walk. we do site measurements all the time in school, people assume youre a city worker or something.

that’s helpful, thanks. i think i’ll mark a pole off with tape, and get a friend to photograph me holding it, in front of various things.

Over here a door is normally 2m.

One trick… what I pretty much always do when I need to model something to scale… put a low poly human in your scene and use it as a reference. Just think, as compared to this guy… does it seem the right size as I would compare it to me. That usually gives good results, and I actually think more people could try it :wink:

A good reference for streets and city blocks is the Pittsburg City Planning Department’s Zoning maps. The approved maps (pdf downloads) show city blocks and street sizes. They appears to be drawn to scale, but it’s a pretty small scale. Still, it’ll give you a rough outline into which the buildings must fit. State Highway departments or city public works departments publish engineering drawings with actual dimensions for road and sidewalk widths, placement of signage and street markings, etc.

Some European cities also publish detailed maps of their historic city centers.

thanks guys, very helpful. I think I’m about ready to start laying things out.

If you got the chance to go to a university library (with architecture among its careers), check for a book called:
Neufert’s “Bauentwurfslehre”
It’s got dimensions for any kind of project you need. In spanish it’s called “arte de proyectar en arquitectura”, or “the art of projecting in architecture”. It’s like “the bible of architects” to be used as reference prior to starting any design process.

for buildings make all the tops of the doors and windows aligned.
Very rarely will you see some types of windows that are a bit higher, they try to keep the tops all lined up.

2 meter doors is what I use too, works for the blender game engine and Crystal space :smiley:

Ha, that’s funny. I feel weird when I’m taking pictures of old walls for textures, but people don’t seem to find it weird. I guess they just assume I’m doing some serious documentation of stuctural damage or something.:stuck_out_tongue:

Sorry if that’s off topic.

don’t forget to look at google earth - obviously at the hi res areas - you can use cars as a rough frame of reference…

Incidentally I’m into city modeling too!
So to finish off a real crap day on a positive note, here are some staples I’ve been going by since time ot of mind, ie even before I knew about 3d modelling.

Manhattan midtown block: ~60m x 150m
Chicago ‘Loop’ block: ~100m x 200m


Lane: ~5m
quiet residential: ~10m
city centre: ~20m - 30m (Hamburg’s main shopping street is 28m)
Thoroughfare: 30m-50m.

Hope you speak metric :wink:

Marco :slight_smile:

Here’s one that happened to me once:
Curious onlooker: “You’re taking a picture of a brick wall?”
Me: “Yes.”
Curious onlooker (walks away)

I actually got taken to a holding area and made to wait for some security guys supervisor one time, when I was taking some textures from an industrial area. they didn’t rough me up or anything, but their coffee was folgers, or yuban, or something bad like that. blech! most of the time, though, I am not around long enough to draw attention, as I take most of my textures from the seat of my motorcycle.

Be carful out there in New Yprk taking pictures and filming, you can only be set up in one spot for like, 2 minutes with out getting a million dollar permit from the city now a days

Nobody’s asked me, although a few have obviously wondered :eyebrowlift2:

Its not too hard to find car, and space ship blue prints, buildings, on the edge. It may be a nice idea to develope a database of blueprints (if thats the right word) of just everyday idems like, a can of soda, and whatever.