The British real estate company British Land and the City of London recently held a unique architecture competition called Beyond the Hive. The challenge: Design dense urban housing facilities ... for insects and arachnids. The designs were supposed to provide specific habitats for a variety of species including spiders, moths, and beetles. Arup Associates prevailed with a bookshelf-like structure with compartments arranged in a Voronoi pattern that can be stuffed with whatever kinds of soil or detritus a specific species needs. You can see it and a few of the other designs here.
I'm wonder how much research into specific insects' needs went into the design. Beetles, for example, might not be accustomed to climbing up into a structure like this. But in general, it's great that cities are beginning to think about proactive ways of providing habitats for other species in our cities. A similar idea for larger animals was bandied about in Leeds last summer.