Whether by a "friendly" social network or the prying NSA, chances are pretty high that you are being watched. And with all this talk of the rise of the drone army, it seems that even the most unplugged person can't shield themselves when walking around the city. Or at least the city in its current form.
Conceptual artist and law student Asher J. Kohn has pondered this quandary and come up with a number of guidelines that planners can follow to create a “Shura City”—a place where problems are solved through a social contract that disperses responsibilities.
Asher J. Kohn's Shura City concept. Image via popsci.
Taken from the title of a piece in Foreign Policy by Farah Jan in 2012, a “shura” originally refers to a “consultative group of elders and respected individuals who take responsibility for the decision-making for a community.” In this case, the city itself act as the elder, protectively shrouding the inhabitants in obscurity.
“Architecture against drones is not just a science-fiction scenario but a contemporary imperative,” says Kohn. Contemporary drone warfare, skirting around the courts and trials of a recognized justice system, is a dystopian reality that may very well require a utopian response like this.
Moshe Safdie's Habitat ‘67.
The Shura City would have a number of features that would make drone operation difficult while obscuring inhabitants. Buildings would be arranged irrationally—reminiscent of Moshe Safdie's Habitat ‘67—to make mapping difficult. Jutting towers would constrict low flight. Heat signatures would also be hidden from view by keeping the whole city at a similar temperature with active control systems as well as passive cooling wind-catchers.
As Kohn says, this one’s for Abdurahman al-Awlakis of the world. We highly recommend that you read the original paper by Kohn over at scribd.