Friday, May 29, 2020

Bring on the drones

by Gerard Cleveland & Gregory Saville

NOTE: This week my colleague Gerard Cleveland from Perth, Australia and I share this blog about drones. Gerry is an attorney, a specialist in school violence, and the co-founder of the concept called 2nd Generation CPTED. 

Drones will change our lives as much as COVID-19 and the internet. The possibilities for future generations are endless. Kids today say ‘what is dial up’? In ten years they will ask ‘what’s a fire truck’? We certainly hope so.

We have nothing against firefighters - our point is about technological revolutions and the future.

Consider that much of our current urban landscape with its ugly suburbs and huge roadways are built for, among other things, the passage of fire trucks. If we don’t need the space for those huge trucks and ladders, we may just be able to realize Jane Jacobs' dream of town planners and architects designing and building more interactive, less segmented living spaces.

Once we get design of our communities out of the hands of the pragmatists with no vision, we may start building liveable spaces that we want rather than accommodating the transport needs of emergency services.


Over the years, visions of a different kind of city made appearances in this blog: Arcosante, the Aerotropolis, and the Smart City. This latest drone innovation tested in China and some other countries fits into the Smart City vision. It is, after all, pretty smart to adapt drones for dangerous duties.

Fire drones are only one possible way new technologies might transform how we design cities. For example, the SafeGrowth Network is currently working with colleagues in Helsingborg, Sweden to introduce crime prevention innovations at the Helsingborg 22 Smart City Exposition in two years.

In the meantime, after we eliminate fire trucks, and save a squillion or so on fire suppression, maybe someone out there can also design colour blind community protector robocops to patrol the streets?

Bring on the drones!