October 29—31, 2018
Mwanza, Tanzania


The emergence of drone technologies necessitates an entirely new architectural typology. Droneports must enable safe, cheap and easy landing for drones operating within a network. But beyond logistics, droneports also create opportunities for new civic spaces. Clean, beautiful and quiet, droneports may offer more appealing sites for community and cultural life than their petrol station predecessors. Sites for cargo delivery could potentially house pharmacies, postal services, public plazas, e-commerce marketplaces — especially digital fabrication for drones and other robots. The potential scale and value of this proposition is enormous: much like every European town once had a train station, we envision a future in which every African town has a droneport. 

AERIAL FUTURES: Lake Victoria Challenge provoked discussion about these new architectural interfaces between land and sky, furthering imaginative discussion about scalability, economic and civic value, construction, local and sustainable materials, and programmatic diversity. Building on the 2016 Droneport Project, initiated by EPFL-Afrotech and designed by Foster + Partners, AERIAL FUTURES: Lake Victoria Challenge explored imaginary architectural approaches that enhance the shared economic value and scalability of droneports in remote, rural areas, including private-public partnerships and financing business models. The think tank produced design sketches for droneports in Mwanza and Juma Island, where the Lake Victoria Challenge will take place in June 2019.



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Ben Savonen

Ben Savonen is an engineer and maker who is a part of Field Ready’s Rapid Emergency Deployment (RED) team. He is also a research engineer at Pennsylvania State University’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) program, and he has spent the last several years looking into how 3D printing can benefit rural healthcare systems in East Africa. From this work he cofounded Kijenzi, a social impact venture that uses 3D printing to create both employment opportunities and hard-to-find equipment for hospitals in Western Kenya.

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Ben Taub

Ben Taub joined The New Yorker as a staff writer in 2017. He has written for the magazine about jihadi recruitment in Europe, war crimes in Syria, battlefield medicine, and human trafficking along the trans-Saharan migration routes from Nigeria to Italy. In 2014, he received a B.A. in philosophy from Princeton; the next year, he completed an M.A. in politics at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. In 2017, Ben’s work on Syria, which was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, was short-listed for a National Magazine Award and won the Livingston Award for International Reporting, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for International Print reporting, and the Overseas Press Club Award for Investigative Reporting. Ben also received the ASME Next Award for Journalists Under 30, and was named one of Forbes’s 30 Under 30 in Media.

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Catalina Ochoa

Maria Catalina Ochoa is an Urban Transport Specialist at the World Bank’s Latin America and Caribbean region. Catalina worked at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in their transport program (EMBARQ) developing projects and analytical work to reduce pollution, improvement of public health, enhance mobility and affordability of urban transport, and creating safe, accessible and attractive urban public spaces. Catalina has also worked as an academic researcher in urban planning and Bus Rapid Transit projects, and as an engineering consultant in Colombia and the United States.

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Daniela Marquez

Daniela Marquez was born in San Cristóbal, Venezuela and immigrated to live in the United States when she was 10 years old. She received a Bachelor Fine of Arts in Interior Design summa cum laude from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the Spring of 2017 and is now pursuing a Master in Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.  In the past, she has worked at multi-disciplinary firms such as THW Design and McALPINE within the Atlanta area and has also held instructional positions both at SCAD and at Georgia Tech, assisting students in an attainment of general architectural and design concepts and facilitating the learning of various skills and tools. Daniela recently received the IIDA GA Student Award for Social Relevance in Design for her undergraduate capstone project: a Children’s Autism Center in Medellín, Colombia. She hopes to continue to explore the global impact of design throughout her work as a student and a professional.


David Mihigo

David Mihigo is a second semester student at Ardhi University Dar es Salaam-Tanzania studying a Master of Science in Urban Planning and Management, School of Spatial Planning and Social Sciences. He received his Bachelor degree with Upper Second Class Honors in Land Surveying at Ruhengeri Institute of High Education (INES-RUHENGERI) and Advanced Diploma in Civil Engineering option of Construction Technology at Integrated Polytechnic Regional Center Kigali (IPRC-Kigali). David is doing research on Location and Accessibility of Solid Waste Transfer Stations in Rapidly Transforming Neighborhood Case study of Sinza A, Dar es salaam-Tanzania.

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Edward Schwarz

Edward Schwarz is General Manager of the LafargeHolcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction in Switzerland since it was created in 2003. He has produced almost 50 regional and global prize hand-over ceremonies and edited some 40 publications related to sustainable construction. He is a Swiss national and was a journalist and editor of a daily newspaper before being appointed editor-in-chief of a radio station. From 1992, he was in charge of communications of a building materials holding company and became Head of Corporate Communications for the united operations of Holcim in Switzerland. From 1998, Edward was the global Head of Internal and Online Communications of Holcim Ltd.

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Joel Jassu

Joel Jassu was born and raised in the slums of Banda in Kampala, Uganda. He miraculously got a scholarship to join the University of Memphis to study Architecture for his undergraduate and is now pursuing a masters degree at Georgia Institute of Technology. Joel’s experiences living in Uganda have shaped his understanding and empathy of design because of the many cultural experiences he brings to the table. He has spent the last six years doing start-ups and leading teams from the United States, Italy, Sudan, Togo, United Kingdom and Uganda doing cross-cultural projects in Uganda. Joel hopes to continue working on global initiatives like this particularly in Africa in the future. He loves getting to know people, working in teams, sketching and bouncing design ideas quickly over trace paper and switching back and forth with digital media. His professional experiences include working on different project scales with Looney Ricks Kiss in Memphis, TN and the Perkins+Will Atlanta office. 

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Johnathan Dessi-Olive

Jonathan Dessi-Olive is the current Ventulett NEXT visiting Fellow at the Georgia Tech School of Architecture. His work takes a critical approach to technology while integrating history and theory of architecture, contemporary compression-only construction, and computational design. As a designer, builder and scholar, his motivation is to help designers and builders to learn to design more intuitively, systematically, and visually. He firmly believes making is inseparable from design, and provides a context for learning that brings to light the relationship between current design tools and methods, and our necessity to make breakthroughs in techniques of assembly and construction. His recent contributions have been to develop new methodologies for designing and building high-performance, sustainable concrete structures in the United States, Europe and Africa.

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Jonathan Ledgard

Jonathan Ledgard is founder of the Rossums studio and inventor of the Redline (blood delivery) and Blueline (heavy commercial delivery) concept for cargo drones in Africa. He developed the first typology of a droneport for the tropics with Lord Norman Foster. He was a director of future Africa at EPFL in Switzerland and served as a longtime foreign and war correspondent for The Economist. Separately, he is a novelist. His last novel, Submergence, a New York Times book of the year, was adapted for Hollywood by Wim Wenders.

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Judith Sherman

Judith Sherman is currently the Chief of HIV and AIDS at UNICEF Malawi. Her career in international public health began in 1988. She has been living in Africa since 1992, including Guinea, Morocco, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Her interest in using drones to advance health outcomes began in 2014 with an in-flight magazine. In 2016, Judith launched UNICEF’s first drone initiative - a feasibility study on using drones to transport laboratory samples for early infant diagnosis of HIV. Since then, she has led efforts to establish Malawi’s drone regulations, develop Africa’s first humanitarian drone air corridor, use drones for emergency preparedness and response, and build local capacity to integrate drone operations and drone-acquired data into development. She is passionate about using drone technology in ways that benefit communities, while also providing competitive market opportunities. 

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Keith Kaseman

Keith Kaseman is a designer, advanced production strategist and architectural educator. As Partner of KBAS, a spatial design practice launched in 2002 with Julie Beckman upon having their competition entry selected for the Pentagon Memorial (2002-2008), he continues to lead the digitally agile office through a diverse array of work, consistently achieving high levels of material and geometric precision across multiple scopes and scales of deployment. Among other awards, KBAS received a 2006 Young Architect Award from the Architecture League, NY and the 2012 National Award for Service from the American Institute for Architects. He joined Georgia Tech as a visiting faculty member in 2016. With both his research and coursework spanning a wide spectrum of advanced design and production workflows, Keith is also the Director of the newly formulated Master of Science in Architecture | Advanced Production concentration.

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Michael Koziol

Michael Koziol is an associate editor at IEEE Spectrum. He covers everything telecommunications—mobile, wireless, the Internet, and how it all fits together. He’s particularly interested in emerging and innovative networks, as well as disaster-proofing and future-proofing current networks. Previously, he covered academic misconduct and the retractions of scientific papers for the blog Retraction Watch. He has also written for Popular Science. Michael graduated from Seattle University with bachelor’s degrees in English and physics, and earned his master’s degree in science journalism from New York University.

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Richard Magerenge

Richard Magerenge was born and raised on an Island called Mfangano, a two-hour boat ride from the mainland on Lake Victoria, Kenya. He is an undergraduate social scientist, on development, currently Obama Foundation, Africa Leaders fellow. He has been involved in health, environment and ICT to bring change on the lives of the people in Mfangano Island. He is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Ekialo Kiona Center of Organic Health Response, which is a community-based organization based on the Island. He loves getting to know people, working in teams, and learning on new technologies. 

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Steve Kemp

Steve Kemp is program leader for animal biosciences at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and professor in tropical genetics at the University of Edinburgh. He has expertise in the genomics of tropical adaptation, particularly host-pathogen interactions and mechanisms of tolerance and resistance as well as informatics systems. He leads ILRI’s cross-cutting LiveGene initiative and the Animal Biosciences Program.

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William Maluki

William Maluki, Head of Engineering at the Kenyan, Makerspace – Gearbox, is an Engineer pioneering a new CNC-based pipe bender. Designed for manufacturers of metal frames—think wheelbarrows; steel-tube furniture; or seats for matatus, Kenya’s fleet of privately-owned minibuses. He has a deep conviction that local innovators hold the key to solving local challenges especially equipping small scale manufacturers with tools and equipment specifically designed for their unique technological and financial needs.


Wilson Kagabo

Wilson Kagabo is the Managing Director of Locus Dynamics Ltd – a Ngali Holdings Ltd Company. He is also a Board Director at Akagera Aviation Ltd. Wilson is an active member of the Rwanda drone industry, sitting on various national technical committees and working groups. Previously, Wilson has served different roles, namely: Acting CEO of Ngali Holdings, university lecturer, researcher, writer, actor, journalist, and photographer among others. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Unmanned Systems Engineering.