Thursday, November 4, 2010

Alien Urbanism

De-Urbanization as Defense Against Alien Invasion

The previews for the new Rogue movie 'Skyline' made me think of a possible benefit from the general dispersion of urban populations.  As shown in the film, the prototypical invasion is preceded by.the traditional 'parking' of ships above all of the 'worlds cities' that has been echoed in sci-fi genres since, well, forever.

:: image via shockya.com

This focus on urban areas - and the concept of dense aggregation of populations makes us vulnerable to attack by aliens due to the ease in which they can focus their energy in a few areas, versus trying to conquer and occupy the globe 'block-by-block' if you will.  The energy to root out the distributed population around the world would have been difficult, if not impossible.

:: image via coming attractions

With the ever increase move towards cities, we have tipped the scales as to our virtual ease of invasion, which has likely caught the attention of alien cultures.  Long written off as rural 'hicks' the massive move towards an urban culture has definitely put us on the radar in terms of planets with considerable natural resources, able-bodies worker/slaves, and comparably low-tech weaponry, gleaned from historical accounts, such as 'War of the Worlds'.
 :: image via What If

As seen in Independence Day, the ability to concentrate on a few cities gives a competitive disadvantage.  A survey of world cities shows that from the largest (Tokyo, Japan 32.4 million) to the 100th largest (Napoli, Italy 3.0 million).  Given the impact of destruction on the top 100 or even the top 50 would wreak serious havoc on the world economies and peace of mind.

:: image via Top 10 List

A breakdown of the top fifty shows the geographical distribution - and although only 4 of these are US cities - they seem distributed throughout the area nicely for maximum impact - being able to keep an eye or remaining, less dense zones.  Hollowing out of larger US cities and megalopolitan agglomerations of multiple cites and edge cities will make it harder to define a 'center' in which to hover.  This has reduced our vulnerability, and massively expanding super-metropolises in Asia will be greater targets.

1. Tokyo, Japan - 32,450,000
2. Seóul, South Korea - 20,550,000
3. Mexico City, Mexico - 20,450,000
4. New York City, USA - 19,750,000
5. Mumbai, India - 19,200,000
6. Jakarta, Indonesia - 18,900,000
7. Sáo Paulo, Brazil - 18,850,000
8. Delhi, India - 18,680,000
9. Õsaka/Kobe, Japan - 17,350,000
10. Shanghai, China - 16,650,000
11. Manila, Philippines - 16,300,000
12. Los Angeles, USA - 15,250,000 
13. Calcutta, India - 15,100,000
14. Moscow, Russian Fed. - 15,000,000
15. Cairo, Egypt - 14,450,000
16. Lagos, Nigeria - 13,488,000
17. Buenos Aires, Argentina - 13,170,000
18. London, United Kingdom - 12,875,000
19. Beijing, China - 12,500,000
20. Karachi, Pakistan - 11,800,000
21. Dhaka, Bangladesh - 10,979,000
22. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 10,556,000
23. Tianjin, China - 10,239,000
24. Paris, France - 9,638,000
25. Istanbul, Turkey - 9,413,000
26. Lima, Peru - 7,443,000
27. Tehrãn, Iran - 7,380,000
28. Bangkok, Thailand - 7,221,000
29. Chicago, USA - 6,945,000
30. Bogotá, Colombia - 6,834,000
31. Hyderabad, India - 6,833,000
32. Chennai, India - 6,639,000
33. Essen, Germany - 6,559,000
34. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam - 6,424,519
35. Hangzhou, China - 6,389,000
36. Hong Kong, China - 6,097,000
37. Lahore, Pakistan - 6,030,000
38. Shenyang, China - 5,681,000
39. Changchun, China - 5,566,000
40. Bangalore, India - 5,544,000
41. Harbin, China - 5,475,000
42. Chengdu, China - 5,293,000
43. Santiago, Chile - 5,261,000
44. Guangzhou, China - 5,162,000
45. St. Petersburg, Russian Fed. - 5,132,000
46. Kinshasa, DRC - 5,068,000
47. Baghdãd, Iraq - 4,796,000
48. Jinan, China - 4,789,000
49. Houston, USA - 4,750,000 
50. Toronto, Canada - 4,657,000

New York City is an obvious target, as well as being a world center - it is the identification of the American ideology of cities... the showdown in 'The Day the Earth Stood Still' making Central Park a 'landing strip' for first contact.

:: image via Entertainment Wallpaper

:: image via Box Office Mojo

The phenomenon is not relegated to the cinematic, but permeates animated features - like this tri-valent attackers about a San Francisco-like urban area in 'Monsters v. Aliens'.

:: image via Box Office Mojo

The worlds icons perhaps will be the next wave, as shown in this photo op from 'Mars Attacks' - taking down the Taj Mahal.  This is more of a strategic destruction left for

:: image via Electronic Dragonfly

Another recent film, District 9 shows a more dystopian view, the disabled ship hovering over the ever sprawling shantytowns outside of Johannesburg, South Africa.

:: image via Sound on Sight

The television series 'V' shows that although special effects and technology evolve - the focus on world cities is not variable... hovering over 1980s (and then returning in the 2009 for more.  Sure they act nice, but they park their ships about all the world's series ready to turn us in to lizard people.  You definitely don't see these parked over Grand Forks, North Dakota (maybe due to the still remaining nuclear arsenal in the Dakotas - or maybe because they are scared of this.)

:: V (1980s version) - image via Automopedia

:: V (2009 version) - image via AstroNerdBoys Ramblings 


As with many of these films and series, the escape from cities is the only hope - rendezvous with other survivors in the desert (hopefully one with a large collection of planes and Jeff Goldblum & Will Smith).  While the occasional film will show aliens in the cornfields of the Midwest, or the sacred natural spaces in the middle of nowhere - but odds are, they will soon be hovering over a large city near you.

With this news, we may rethink our flight to the cities and look for a sprawling alternative - evenly covering the globe in groupings no larger than a few thousand - not calling attention to our agglomerations.  It may be our only hope.

1 comment:

  1. And yet, when the aliens really do visit (and of course they do, it's just the liberal elite government covers it up), they only leave crop circles in overwhelmingly rural parts of red states! Amazing!

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