Asher J. Kohn, a law student and conceptual artist, has come up with a novel idea.If we built communities designed to counter surveillance and targeted drone strikes, then all the new and upcoming, super expensive drones would be worthless hunks of metal.
[Shura City’s] design [is] for the warfare of our time, in which the United States favours sending robots, over people, to hunt down small groups or individuals.
Kohn imagines a few simple ideas aimed at preventing a “lock” on target. Just about any American has watched an episode of cops where infrared technology helped police find that elusive night-time runner — well Kohn’s design renders drones blind.
First, the roof of the communities common areas.
Borrowed from designs in the Netherlands, it’s covered in a lattice like irregular pattern, and then filled with a cloudy Plexiglas like cutouts. The ‘roof’ structure allows for temperatures to be “cool in the summer, warm in the winter,” blocking IR robot sight. “The effect is no different from walk-ing into a dark room on a sunny day,” writes Kohn.
Residents could also attach LEDs to the roof, pointing skyward, making night strikes all but impossible.
The housing architecture itself is borrowed from the bizarre design of Canada’s “Habitat 67.”
Photo: via Flickr
The famed housing structure is a hodgepodge of squares, rectangles and jutting rooms. Again, the jumbled design doesn’t fit into the idea of modern cultural housing, where identification of bedrooms, bathrooms and common areas is relatively easy.Kohn goes on to describe multicolor windows that have changing patterns like the ones seen on billboards that switch ads as the viewer’s perspective changes. He even quips that resident hackers could build QR Codes into the windows, ordering drones to crash themselves.
In Kohns own words:
The goal is not defence-through-hardening, but defence-through-confusion. By turning the entire community into a closed circuit, drones targeting individuals will not be able to select and detect the individuals they desire once they enter the city … creating an empty data set turns the smart drones into dumb-bombs … this built environment presents drones with an inscrutable puzzle.
Finally, Medieval towers or even mosque-like minarets would then keep low-flying drones from flying too low — and several “Badgirs,” a type of ventilation and observation tower of Iranian design which sucks in and circulates air throughout the whole complex.The defence, though passive, would force aggressors into intimate contact with their supposed targets, through either overt and covert “manual” contact — in other words, its passivity forces more aggressive means.
Human Intelligence: Communities would have to be infiltrated, targets actively identified
and located, and either assassinated literally by hand, or raided by teams through “boots on the ground” tactics — something America is increasingly politically unwilling to do. So-called “manual” contact is incredibly complex, costly and time consuming.The other option is to turn the city into a parking lot with heavy munitions, something the international community is unlikely to condone.
The word Shura comes from Arabic, meaning “consultation.” In certain contexts it means a gathering of leaders or elders in a political, or social planning type of context.
The original language of the Koran is in Arabic, and the overwhelming number of human targets of drone strikes are Muslims. Needless to say, they’re rarely, if ever, “consulted” prior to launch of these strikes.
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