1st Edition

Drone Futures UAS in Landscape and Urban Design

By Paul Cureton Copyright 2020
    240 Pages 222 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    240 Pages 222 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drone Futures explores new paradigms in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in landscape and urban design. UAS or drones can be deployed with direct application to the built environment; this book explores the myriad of contemporary and future possibilities of the design medium, its aesthetic, mapping agency, AI, mobility and contribution to smart cities.

    Drones present innovative possibilities, operating in a ‘hover space’ between human scales of landscape observation and light aircraft providing a unique resolution of space. This book shows how UAS can be utilised to provide new perspectives on spatial layout, landscape and urban conditions, data capture for construction monitoring and simulation of design proposals.

    Author Paul Cureton examines both the philosophical use of these tools and practical steps for implementation by designers. Illustrated in full colour throughout, Drone Futures discusses UAS and their connectivity to other design technologies and processes, including mapping and photogrammetry, AR/VR, drone AI and drones for construction and fabrication, new mobilities, smart cities and city information models (CIMs). It is specifically geared towards professionals seeking to understand UAS applications and future development and students seeking an understanding of the role of drones and airspace in the built environment and its powerful geographic imaginary.

    With international contributions, multidisciplinary sources and case studies, Drone Futures examines new powers of flight for visualising, interpreting and presenting landscapes and urban spaces of tomorrow.


      • Introduction
      • Drone Terms and the Hover Space
      • Drone’s Eye
      • Applications
      • Mapping Drone Futures

    Chapter 1 – Drone Aesthetics and Hover Space

      • Introduction
      • Hover Space
      • Vertical Aesthetics
      • A wave of Verticals

    Chapter 2 – Drone Mapping and AI

      • Drone Mapping: Stacking, Fusing
      • Reality Capture and Voids
      • FPV/VR/AR
      • Drone AI

    Chapter 3 - Urban Air Mobility

      • Urban Air Mobility
      • Drone Delivery
      • Speculative Innovation
      • VTOL
      • Drone and Skyports

    Chapter 4 – Digital Twins, Smart Cities and Drones

      • People in the Digital City
      • Technological Stacking and Fusing
      • City Digital Twins and Responsive UAS
      • CIMs for Smart Cities


      • Drones, Smart Cities and Urban Resilience
      • Climatic Breakdown

      • Drone Futuring and a Future History of Drones
      • Drone Futures (Off-world)


    Paul Cureton is a drone pilot and Senior Lecturer in Design at ImaginationLancaster and member of the Data Science Institute, Lancaster University, UK. His research interest revolves around the agency and expression of futures and methods in landscape and architecture in the built environment. This research interest has manifested itself in the exploration of the power of urban visions and speculative futures, the history and future of vertical urbanism through drones and the use of 3D mapping, geo-design and digital twins for urban design and planning. His recent publications include the monograph Strategies for Landscape Representation: Digital and Analogue Techniques (2016). He is co-author, with Nick Dunn, of Future Cities: A Visual Guide (2020).