Designed by: Natalie Harb
Challenge: How can we capitalise on unutilised urban space for growing food?
Project description: City dwellers are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of pollinators, such as bees, for our agricultural systems. London - one of the world’s greenest cities – is literally swarming with new beekeepers – take a look at www.urbanbees.co.uk/maps.
Elsewhere, in cities less endowed with green spaces, innovative thinking has emerged to find ways of creating the right habitat for pollinators. In Beirut, where vernacular building was traditionally characterised by the garden house, small gardens are disappearing, and green spaces have become rare, swallowed up by the rampant construction of sprawling real estate projects and post-war development. “Urban hives” proposes a lightweight scaffolding frame to provide both a growing site above cars in parking lots and shade from the hot Mediterranean sun beneath.
As the hive network proliferates across the city, it establishes new biodiversity corridors, reinstating the formerly ubiquitous habitats for endangered bees and other plant and animal life. Low-cost, flexible modules can be multiplied to create large communal gardens, adding life to the sterile street landscapes and challenging the increasing privatization of the city by returning urban spaces to public use.
Project phase: Design
Location: Piloted for Beirut Design Week