Minecraft is Helping People Improve Real Cities

Through the United Nation’s Block by Block Project, Minecraft players and local community members are helping developing communities redesign public spaces in real cities.

The Block by Block project is a collaboration between the United Nation’s United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) and Mojang. UN Habitat wanted to get young people involved in planning projects to improve public spaces such as parks and public squares, but young people are much less likely to go to meetings and committees and traditional public planning events. Minecraft’s immense popularity was the key to drawing them in.

Minecraft Block by Block

The program is underway in cities including: Le Cayes, Haiti; Kiritpur, Nepal; Nairobi, Kenya; and Mexico City. It starts with a UK-based Minecraft team, FyreUK, rebuilding the real-world location in the game. The local people are then given a chance to play it and start Minecrafting, adding improvements that will be considered for the real world.

“In Haiti, we had a group of fishermen who couldn’t read, couldn’t write and had never used a computer, design a plan for Place de la Paix,” said Pontus Westerberg, Digital Project Manager for UN Habitat. “They built a sea wall to prevent the area from flooding, and added public toilets. These models really let them visualize the changes they want to see in that space.”

The group had considered using more traditional modeling software, but found Minecraft so much easier for people to pick up and dig into.

“After just some basic training, it’s amazing how quickly people pick it up,” Westerberg said. “It’s great seeing groups of people sitting around the computer and working in that kind of way.”

“Some people wanted us to use more traditional design software like 3D Studio Max, but I think the multiplayer element is really fascinating. People come into a game together and pick up roles like real life. There are designers doing the layout, builders, and projects managers.”

To find out more about the Block By Block project and how you can support it, go here.

[Source: Mashable]

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