Envelope’s core IP grew from a longtime collaboration between SHoP–one of the world’s most innovative architecture firms–and Sarah Williams, a GIS expert, professor, and the Director of MIT’s Civic Data Design Lab. Between 2008-2015, they undertook the herculean task of modeling the wildly complex 4,300-page New York City zoning resolution into 3D software.

Since 2015, Envelope’s team of software engineers, applied mathematicians and zoning experts have continued their work, augmenting and refining the zoning rules, expanding geographically, and making the technology easily scalable to new cities.