A nighttime view of an insect farm in downtown Stockholm. Photo: Belatchew Labs
A nighttime view of an insect farm in downtown Stockholm. Photo: Belatchew Labs

Are urban bug farms in Stockholm's future?

5:00 min

A Swedish architectural firm has won an award for coming up with a design for urban insect farms in downtown Stockholm. The firm claims that the farms could make the city self-sufficient on proteins.

The architects behind the project have visualised building nine curvaceous buildings in downtown Stockholm which would host the production of enough crickets to feed the city's residents. Rahel Belatchew, CEO of the architectural firm Belatchew Arkitekter, tells Radio Sweden that their goal with the project was to come up with a design that would secure the city's food supply in the future and make the city more sustainable.

"We wanted to look at alternative ways of producing food and parallel to that we were also looking into how cities are structured and how food can be produced within cities, and we found that insects are very high in protein and easy to produce," Belatchew says.

The buildings, or insect farms, draw inspiration from the very insects they are meant to contain and are made out of a steel exoskeleton. Belatchew says that they would be built in the middle of existing roundabouts to take up as little space as possible.

"Cities are becoming more and more dense and we need to fit more things on a very limited surface, so we looked at Stockholm and found that we could use the empty space in the middle of the roundabouts to farm insects," Belatchew says.

The buildings would be completely transparent so that people could witness the whole production cycle from egg to edible insect and the top floor would feature a kind of bee reserve in order to protect bees from extinction. Crickets are already a common snack in other parts of the world, but Belatchew admits that it might take a while before Swedes have warmed up to the idea of eating insects.

"I think that most people wouldn't want to see insects on their plates, but it could be possible to turn the protein into flour and use it in bread and other food," says Belatchew.

The project has won the magazine Architectural Review's Future Project Award and has received much attention from all over the world, according to Belatchew.

"The project has been published in almost 70 countries and is something that addresses how we can make our future cities dense, green and sustainable," she says.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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