UN Habitat recently announced plans to engage populations in developing nations around the process of planning and designing their own communities using the hugely popular Minecraft videogame. The three-year partnership between the UN and Minecraft developer Mojang, called “Block by Block,” will support UN Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network as it endeavours to upgrade three hundred public spaces by 2016.
With more than thirty six million registered users of the PC version of the videogame, Minecraft challenges and improves creative problem-solving skills while also imparting valuable information among players. In fact, schools across the United States use MinecraftEdu, a classroom-adapted version of Minecraft, to teach students science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) as well as language, communication skills, sociology and history.
Using a special version of Minecraft that virtually replicates existing communities, the UN hopes to leverage “Block by Block” to empower students with the ability to improve their neighbourhoods. Within Minecraft‘s digital representations, users can construct an unlimited array of buildings and public spaces, including homes, parks and offices. By collecting input from local populations, the videogame can inform urban planners and decision makers about the types of improvements that would be most beneficial and appealing to the overall community. The pilot project has already launched in Kibera, Nairobi.
To learn more about UN Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network, please visit http://www.unhabitat.org/categories.asp?catid=570. Electronic Theatre will keep you updated with all the latest details on the Minecraft videogame franchise.