Whether you call it a townhome, rowhome, or townhouse, or even a terraced house, attached and semi-attached single family homes have a historical precedent in many urban centers. A townhouse is “a usually single-family house of two or sometimes three stories that is usually connected to a similar house by a common sidewall” (Merriam-Webster).

Townhome developments may be for-rent or for-sale, and provide inhabitants the feeling of a single family home whilst still accomplishing higher density than a typical single family dwelling.

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Import Data from Existing Giraffe Projects

How to Draw Buildings in Giraffe

Let’s discover how to represent townhomes in Giraffe!

Density by Design

In 2022, the White House announced plans to increase housing stock by supporting jurisdictions that promote density and expand government-funded financing models to better support different types of homes. Townhome developments are unique in that they provide a single family experience to residents whilst still increasing density.

A Townhome development is best suited for an area that already has some density, good municipal infrastructure, and a large enough site to accommodate multiple units. The zoning on the land may not explicitly allow attached or semi-attached homes, but as opinions shift about the necessity of density, you may find it easier to pursue an up-zoning variance. Use Layers to visualize the current land use and zoning, as well as the neighboring parcels, to inform your research.

Typical townhome sizes are:

Width* 18–25 feet
Depth* 85–120 feet
Area* 1,530–3,000 sq. ft.
Number of Units 1
Typical Unit Size 1,000–3,000 sq. ft.
Width 18–25 feet
Depth 35–55 feet
Height (to eave)* 25–40 feet
Floors 2-3.5 stories
Net Density 11–25 du/acre
Gross Density 10–22 du/acre
Parking Ratio* 1–3 per unit
On-street Spaces 1-2
Off-street Spaces 2 per unit max.
Front* 10–25 feet
Side* 0–12 feet
Rear (main building)* 30–60 feet
Between Main and Accessory Buildings 10–20 feet

Adding Layers

Giraffe allows you to connect to GIS data from any 3rd party source - public or private. You can even use Giraffe to create and host your own data layers. That GIS data is displayed on the map as "Layers.”

Many regions have parcel or cadastral layers available that will help you build building accuracy. You can also add contextual information like contours, flood zones, or wetlands, which may affect the placement of townhomes on your lot.

<aside> 💡 Use Map features to Create Geometry and Query Information to copy a parcel outline from the map


To add layers, click “+ Data Layer” in the layer palette.


The layer menu appears.

The layer library includes public layers (available to all Giraffe users) and private layers (available only to you, your teams, or your workspace).

Search here to find all layers available to you. The display of the list favors layers that are geographically applicable to your current map view.


<aside> 💡 Learn more about how to Add Spatial data to your project


Divide and Conquer

The recommended best practice to represent townhomes is to model each individual townhome on the site rather than using a mass with Unit Mix applied.