Using Drones as a Tool to Drive Public Engagement
Landscape architects and planners have relied on Unmanned Aircraft Vehicles (UAVs or drones) for site analysis, monitoring construction progress and benchmarking projects in recent years. Data and birds-eye imagery from drones can even enhance storytelling to bolster community engagement and deepen the clarity and communication of design ideas.
Recent studies have shown that the average human attention span is eight seconds and falling, according to National Center for Biotechnology Information. The way in which people gather information is in short segments through push notifications on smart devices, social media, and text messages with the average webpage visit lasting under a minute—most leaving a page within 10-20 seconds. This creates a challenge for planners and designers who depend on stakeholder input to drive the design process. In a world saturated with digital stimuli, designers need to leverage tools to make the most of the eight second attention span. This requires visual storytelling techniques that are clear, concise, and entertaining. While webpage visits are short, the average length of a video watched is 2.7 minutes. This creates an opportunity to employ drone technology in the community and stakeholder engagement process. As designers tasked with translating stakeholder desires into a built product, it is critical that our communication methods reflect the way people consume information, particularly when social distancing regulations are in place and feedback is obtained virtually.