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White Paper, Shmite Paper: We Should be Worrying About Drone-Proof Cities

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 12:22 PM

While the brouhaha over the White Paper rages, Sarah Goodyear writes in The Atlantic Cities about a novel concept from one Asher J. Kohn which might, in the near future, moot the whole discussion:

“Architecture against drones is not just a science-fiction scenario but a contemporary imperative,” writes Asher J. Kohn.

Kohn, an American law student and editor of The Tuqay, a website covering “Central Asia and its hinterlands,” has recently put forth a theoretical proposal for a city built to passively shield its residents against this ultramodern tool of warfare — a drone-deflecting city. He created it for a class he was auditing in extreme architecture, and it has since been picked up for discussion by several websites.

Kohn’s envisioned drone-proof community, which he calls “Shura City,” is a thought experiment, a provocation (shura, Arabic for consultation, is a word associated with group decision-making in the Islamic world). It’s a self-contained environment with elaborate architectural devices designed to thwart robotic predators overhead. Minarets, along with the wind-catching cooling towers called badgirs, would obstruct the flight path of the drones. A latticed roof, extending over the entire community, would create shade patterns to make visual target identification difficult. A fully climate-controlled environment would confuse heat-seeking detection systems. He has not included any anti-aircraft weapons in this scenario.

(h/t Joshua Bleiberg)

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