US student designs a Drone-Proof City
A law student Asher Kohn, 25 has come up with a futuristic design for a city to counter and foil drone attacks. It uses the sci-fi type of design on Middle Eastern architecture. It uses a number of ways to confuse the drone sensors and conceal the inhabitants. He is calling it the “Shura City” – after the group / clan in Islamic countries.
Architecture against drones is not just a science-fiction scenario but a contemporary imperative.
‘Such creations are not needed for the John Connors but for the Abdurahman al-Awlakis.
‘The successful check against the machines is not a daydream but an inevitability, and the quicker more creative solutions are proposed, the more likely such answers can be disseminated widely and kept from the patent-wielding hands of some offshore-utopian type.’
He uses some tricks like:
- Multi-coloured blocks of glass: ‘The changing colours make it more difficult for electronic cameras to peer in and make out one person from the next without hints of skin tone or clothing colour,’
- Movable mashrabiya: “…a drone trying to peer through a window could get guillotined by a mashrabiya contorting itself into a self-destruct code. Now that’s more like it’
- Roof over the city: physical barrier to prevent drones coming too close, but criss-crossed with lines to break up the profile of the buildings below. It would also help to keep the city climate controlled.
Is this city design useful? Experts like the Forbes’ contributor Michael Peck think no.
‘It is much easier and quicker to improve drone aircraft, software and sensors than it is to change a building or a city to fool them,’ writes Mr Peck. ‘The 1990s Global Hawk was the size of a small passenger jet. Now drones are the size of insects. ‘If we can’t keep mosquitoes out of our homes, a mosquito-sized drone won’t be any easier to swat.’
That makes sense. After all the millions have been spent in trying to counter the drones, the drones can reinvent themselves and crack the town completely!
But Asher Kohn makes a great argument for himself:
But Mr Kohn makes no claim to have created the be all and end all of drone-proof cities, but says he merely wants to provoke discussion of the implications drones have for how future societies might be structured.
‘What this project proposes is a new way to think about space,’ Mr Kohn writes. ‘Drone warfare proposes that every inch of land is (and all of its inhabitants are) part of the battle space.’ He concludes: ‘Shura City is about using architecture to create aspace for humanity in an increasingly inhuman sphere.’
Mr Kohn added to MailOnline: ‘A few people have told me that hiding from drones is illegal, which I find hilarious, because, wait, we’re expecting people to just be totally on-board with fiery death coming down from the sky without a moment’s notice? ‘I’m just using the vocabulary of architecture to point out the shortcomings of drone warfare. My whole point was that law has nothing to do with it.’
Here is the paper presented by Asher Kohn: