John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Stockholm designers want to get everybody eating crickets from giant "vermin farms" by 2018.
Some people might mentally retch that the United Nations, believing the world's population could hit 9 billion by 2050, thinks we should prepare to eat bugs.
Not the folks at Sweden's Belatchew Arkitekter, though: They want to fast-track the insect-munching. Thus they've whipped up plans to build "vermin farms" upon Stockholm's major intersections, so that by 2018 everybody in the city will be guaranteed plentiful rations of six-legged foodstuffs.
Their official name for these unconventional farms are "Buzz Buildings," presumably for the pleasant hum the millions of crickets will add to the urban soundscape. Looking like big, inflated doughnuts with sunlit gardens inside, there would be nine of them total—and if you think Belatchew hasn't done the math on whether that's enough protein for the people, you've got another thing coming:
Stockholm is expected to have 940,700 inhabitants by the year 2018. in order to make food from bugs corresponding to the inhabitants’ meat consumption, about 500,000 m² of farmable surface is needed. by placing vermin farms in nine roundabouts throughout the city, the goal of making it self-sufficient in protein can be obtained.
As seen in this very large infographic, the architects believe their bevy of entomophagical installations operating at 50 percent efficiency could provide 489,350 square meters of cricket space, leading them to conclude, quote, "YES, WE CAN!"
A side benefit of these breeding chambers would be their attraction to other beneficial insects, namely honeybees, they allege. Ninety-eight out of 300 species of Swedish wild bees are endangered. The walls of the Buzz Buildings are perforated to allow bees to crawl in and zip among flowers, and with luck not sting the farmers who are trying to corral a bunch of hopping crickets.
Here's hoping the good citizens of Stockholm get this bold plan off the ground by 2018. That way, they can tell the rest of the world what it's like to subsist off of insectoid infrastructure:
It's hard to tell from this cross section, but the bottom floor of each bug barn is meant to have a restaurant serving up heaping bowls of fresh-cooked crickets. The architects explain that "in contrast to the hidden processes of meat, the project invites the public to observe and participate, offering accessible knowledge about where their food comes from":