Building the perfect urban beehive

Man-made beehives haven’t really changed much for centuries, mostly because beekeeping was always something that happened in rural areas. But beekeeping, like produce farming and even livestock keeping, is moving into cities – and urban apiculturists are struggling with the best ways to adapt beekeeping to the city.

In London, for instance, the inmidtown business improvement district recognized after the first year of its Midtown Buzz beekeeping initiative that traditional hives just weren’t working as well as they could. According to GOOD, “strong winds from rooftops, air-conditioning vents, and tight spaces pose unique challenges for urban beekeepers.” Time to throw in the towel? No way – inmidtown partnered with the Architecture Foundation to launch a competition for designing a beehive ideal for urban settings.

Announced last week, inmidtown Habitats challenges designers to “offer distinctive yet functional designs that help enhance biodiversity in this urban context” for beehives, as well as bird and bat boxes and planters. The contest plans to mass produce the winning designs and install them throughout Holborn, Bloomsbury and St. Giles.

It’s an open, international competition. If you’re thinking about entering, submissions are due by November 28th. Let us know if you do, or if you’ve just got an idea for how beekeeping might work better in urban settings.


Image credit: Walter Baxter at Wikimedia Commons under a Creative Commons license