You might have heard this already, but Minecraft is a pretty cool, fun, popular game. We could have just stopped there and felt reasonably proud of ourselves. But we at Mojang also passionately believe that Minecraft is a Good Thing - not just an inspiring, delightful, mind-expanding pastime, but something that brings real, positive change to people’s lives the world over. That’s why we encourage Minecraft’s use as an educational tool and it’s also why we set up Block by Block - a partnership with UN-Habitat which uses Minecraft as a way of engaging communities in the development of public space, allowing locals to take control of their environment.
Public spaces are super important. They’re the backbone of any community and a vital measure of its health. They’re a key part of urban infrastructure - water, energy and communication - and well-planned public space promotes civic identity, socialisation and security. But in places of poverty, conflict or rapid urbanisation, these essential spaces often fall by the wayside, important amenities are overlooked and locals are disenfranchised.
UN-Habitat and Mojang are committed to reversing this where we can - and Minecraft has proved an invaluable way of communicating proposals to develop the environment, engaging locals in these challenges and taking their feedback to city planners. Nobody knows what a community needs better than those who live in it, and with Minecraft they’re given an easy and rapid way to express their ideas.
So far, Block by Block has initiated projects in 18 locations across 13 different countries, with many more underway in 2016. Have a look at our newly re-launched website to see the work we’ve done in places like Nairobi, Mumbai, Kosovo and Mexico City.
And, if you can, donate.
Marsh - @marshdavies