PDS Data Optimization by AI

Our application automates by-law and regulation amendments by downloading relevant files, indexing them for quick searches, reducing search time from weeks to milliseconds, and using AI to suggest context-aware changes. Additionally, it converts zoning documents for Vancouver’s Land Use database.




Computer Science




  • Hoda Rashedi

City of Vancouver:

  • Jessica Jin
  • Jacqueline Hunter
  • Marten Hansen

Student Team:

  • Brian Kwon
  • Kevin Ng
  • Lisa Zhu
  • Mangat Toor
  • Victor Guara


Spring 2024



The City of Vancouver’s Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability(PDS) team faced challenges in managing consequential amendments and digitizing policies. This project aimed to address these issues by creating an innovative web application.

The core problem? Every by-law or regulation change triggered a manual amendment avalanche. Imagine wading through hundreds of PDFs, searching for references, and revising them one by one – a monumental task!

Consequential Amendments

1. Intelligent Search: Effortlessly find relevant terms across all documents. Get a consolidated list with pinpoint accuracy, including paragraph locations, metadata, and document page links.

2. AI-powered Analysis: Leverage the power of Large Language Models (LLMs) to analyze each reference. The LLM, prompted by the user, assesses amendment needs and proposes solutions with justifications – a significant time-saver.

Digitizing Policies for Efficiency

The Research and Data team grappled with populating the new LZR database. Extracting information from dozens of Zoning District Schedule documents was a tedious, manual process.

LLM-powered Information Extraction:

The LLM scans documents, pinpointing various uses, scenarios, and relevant data. It then generates a table for review and easy import into LZR.

User-Friendly Interface

The web-based interface is intuitive and self-hosted for optimal security. It offers functionalities like file/category selection, background file updates, and easy access to all features.

This application empowers the City of Vancouver to manage consequential amendments and policy digitization more efficiently, saving time and resources.

Next Steps: 

Now that the term is over, our project will transition into its next phase, ensuring continuity and future development. We have been invited to present our project at the upcoming PDS department meeting, where we will showcase our demo to over 30 department members. This presentation will serve as a platform to highlight our project’s impact and gather valuable feedback.

Additionally, we are in active discussions with the involved team to create a comprehensive ‘hand-over training’ program. This training will focus on explaining how the project can be improved and customized for future expansion and adaptation. By providing training sessions, we aim to equip the PDS team with the knowledge and tools needed to enhance the project further.

To nominate our project for HUBBUB 22 People’s Choice Awards, between July 4th and July 10th, go to HUBBUB 22 People’ Choice Voting. 
Winners will be announced on July 11th, 2024 during the CityStudio Youth Summer event Civic Matters: Youth Voices and Your City Hall Campus. 

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