Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016DC177B

Assessing the effectiveness of interactive signage at advancing communicating, promoting, and educating the public on green infrastructure projects in public spaces

Institute: District of Columbia
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2017-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,996 Total Non-Federal Funds: $4,798

Principal Investigators: Kamran Zendehdel, Harris Trobman, Xiaochu Hu

Abstract: Effective education, training, and communication is among the toughest challenges for achieving widespread adoption of Green infrastructure (GI) practices in the nation as well as in the District. Despite significant advancement and strong efforts of organizations in GI applications in the District major barriers exist in effective education of public about the environmental benefits of GI practices. Multiple agencies within Washington DC are applying GI practices to minimize the stormwater runoff problem without a clear plan. As a result Washington DC has become a leader in implementing green infrastructure including leading the United States in green roof coverage. Despite this limited results have been transferred to water quality improvements in Anacostia and Potomac rivers. Lack of a clear understanding of GI practices and their associated environmental benefits has reduced the advancement of GI practices in the District. The advancement of green infrastructure is limited by the public perception and adoption of these practices taking advantages of incentives to implement this on their own private property. The main question in this research is how to best attract, engage, and motivate the private user is the central design challenge faced in green infrastructure. New emerging forms of interactive education forms combined with informal education have been shown to pose great potential in behavioral changes within environmental spaces. In this experimental research project, we will focus on the two University of District of Columbia’s (UDC) GI sites in Ward 3 (UDC campus) and Ward 7 (East Capitol Urban Farm Site). Both sites have well-established GI practices without any signs to introduce the practices to students and the public. In this research, we aim to use an emerging form of engagement: interactive GI signage, as well as interactive education forms combined with informal education and then evaluate the public perception about the benefits and application of the GI practices before and after installation of the signs in both UDC’s project sites. The expected outcomes of the project come in two components: education/information transfer, and evaluation that contributes to the GI research literature and best practice archive. As the treatment/experiment, interactive GI signs will be designed and installed on the two GI project sites and will stay on site after the project is completed. Other experimental interactive and informal activities including educational exhibition (booth/poster) and workshop about GI will be conducted to transfer information. As the evaluation instrument, two focus group discussions, pre- and post-surveys will be conducted on each site to collect data about participant’s perception before and after the experiment, and to evaluate experimented methods for educating people about GI practices in public places, as well as to quantify the impact of these methods on public perception about GI practices and their environmental benefits.