Drones over the Duomo with the Mayor as testimonial

On Friday, June 17th, at 6 p.m. in Piazza Santa Maria Novella in Florence, a sit-in will be held to protest the future droning of our city. Flying creatures are welcome, as long as they are non-electronic.

Venerdì 17 giugno, ore 18, in Piazza Santa Maria Novella a Firenze, presidio contro il futuro indronamento della nostra città. Le creature volanti sono benvenute, purché non elettroniche.

The other day, the mayor of Florence, Dario Nardella, announced on what is now the official organ of the administration, the Municipality’s Facebook page, that he had signed a ‘protocol’ with ENAC, Italy’s National Civil Aviation Authority.

The title of the press release sums it all up:

“Drones in Florence: Mayor Nardella institutional testimonial for ENAC.

The protocol for Advanced Air Mobility has been signed – Three years to fly drones for the transport of people, goods and medicines”.

The communiqué continues:

“Rome, 26 May 2022 – ENAC and the Municipality of Florence signed the protocol for the promotion of advanced air mobility, i.e. the use of drones and vertical take-off electric vehicles for the transport of people, goods and medicines.”

I don’t know how much the transport of medicines affects city traffic, but if you talk about health, everyone shuts up. Then comes the heroic part:

“After Covid, whoever stops in technological innovation is lost. Italy’s first smart city also aims to ‘conquer’ the skies: within three years, drones will be flying in Florence’.

A brief pornographic interlude follows in the press release, which we call on readers under the age of 18 to skip:

“The common goal is to improve the quality of life of citizens by harmonising innovation with sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Achieving all this in a city of art like Florence means wedding history and the future, being at the forefront in Europe and the world, and further revitalising the city’s attractiveness.”

Now you can open your eyes again.

The press release presents us with yet another mutation of the original folly of all town planner/car drivers:

“Advanced air mobility is an opportunity to introduce an innovative dimension of urban mobility on a local and national level, offering an alternative to heavily congested land mobility by overcoming the limitations of current forms of transport.”

There is a wonderful traffic research blog, Benzina Zero, which has shown with many cases (e.g. talking about New York) how every time planners think about making traffic flow smoother by widening a street, traffic simply increases. A bit like when you throw a thousand 50 euro bills out the window, you attract more hands than you would if you threw a hundred.

So we know that air traffic will only add to, indeed provide a three-dimensional touch to the current traffic.

Anything to do with drones carrying people is still largely in the world of dreamlike phantasmagoria of technoscam peddlers. Usually represented with the peculiar nightmare graphics of architects’ renderings, against very un-Florentine backgrounds:

But there is also immense investment pressure, a tsunami of capital pushing in this direction, and something will happen, maybe not in three years, but soon anyway.

Some twenty years ago, the Municipality of Florence, with more or less the same nonchalance, signed the European Landscape Convention, which among other things, says that

“Landscape protection” means actions to conserve and maintain the significant or characteristic features of a landscape, justified by its heritage value derived from its natural configuration and/or from human activity”

As long as you don’t look up at the sky, everything will be alright: Florence still has many beautiful paving stones to admire.

For mayor-testimonials, who can spin words and sign protocols without risking anything, this poses no problem.

But behind them, there are the town officials, who put their signatures, not on protocols to conquer the skies, but on permission for this or that specific person to show off his four-rotor drone in mid-air.

In summer I keep my windows open, and the first nighttime carouser who, at 3.20 am, flies past my house and decides to throw a lit cigarette butt on my bed, I won’t sue the carouser, I’ll bring to court the official who authorised the flight.

Ah, drones sometimes miss their way, like this one here in downtown New York:

If the carouser then gets his toy hacked, things can get quite interesting.

In fact, a group of students from Johns Hopkins University (which, by the way, has branches here in Florence) had fun shooting down drones by simply clicking on a computer.

And I also recall the excellent rules that the Municipality of Florence sets to safeguard the nests of our incredible organic pesticides – swallows, swifts and house martins. The mosquitoes will be there to applaud the Amazon drones as they chop up the birds.

Officials are kindly warned.

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Una risposta a Drones over the Duomo with the Mayor as testimonial

  1. tomar scrive:

    Mamma mia quanti impegni per i fiorentini impegnati venerdì 17 (oltretutto il giorno più sfigato possibile):
    ricevo da EXTINCTIONREBELLION.IT l’invito a unirmi alla ribellione (contro il collasso in arrivo) dalle ore 17.30 di quel dì presso le Baracche Verdi di via degli Aceri (oltretutto a 100 metri da dove abitano figlia e nipoti).

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