Minecraft changed the video game industry by selling millions of downloads of an indie game. Now the free-form building game is inviting players to help redesign real-world locations around the world.
Minecraft creator Mojang announced yesterday in a blog post that it is teaming up with United Nations Habitat to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016.
The project, called Block by Block, enlists local youth to improve their neighborhoods. Block by Block is the international version of a previous Mojang project known as My Blocks (Mina Kvarter in Swedish), organized in conjunction with Swedish Building Services. Mojang managing director Carl Manneh wrote:
“It has proven to be a great way to visualize urban planning ideas without necessarily having architectural training. The ideas presented by the citizens lay as a ground for political decisions. Mina Kvarter has been a great success and it’s spreading into more areas in Sweden. It has also been recognized internationally as a new way to do urban development planning. Recently, the UN found out about what we are doing and we got together to talk.”
The first Block by Block site, in Nairobi, Kenya, is “already in the planning phase.” Urban planners interested in following the project will have to wait for status updates, as Mojang is still building the Block by Block website.