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Using Minecraft to help young people reimagine public spaces

Published 15/09/2015

Finance Minister Arlene Foster with Stephanie Briggs, 11, from Dundonald, and Nathan Hardy, nine, from Bangor, launching the new Minecraft Map (DFP Communications/PA)
Finance Minister Arlene Foster with Stephanie Briggs, 11, from Dundonald, and Nathan Hardy, nine, from Bangor, launching the new Minecraft Map (DFP Communications/PA)

Minecraft has gained a lot of attention as an educational tool and artistic medium not to mention the world’s most popular indie game. Now it is gaining a reputation as a way of engaging young people in designing the real world around them.

Minecraft has gained a lot of attention as an educational tool and artistic medium not to mention the world’s most popular indie game.

Now it is gaining a reputation as a way of engaging young people in designing the real world around them.

The Block by Block project is a partnership between the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Mojang, the makers of Minecraft. Working in countries like Kenya, Mexico and Nepal, young people are brought together to reimagine their own neighbourhoods using Minecraft as a visualisation tool. The designs then feed into the areas’ redevelopment planning process and ultimately influence real life works. The four-year partnership will support UN-Habitat to upgrade 300 public spaces.

The local government in Adelaide, Australia saw the same potential and launched a competition earlier this year for kids to design the “perfect national park” inside the game. Submissions were judged on things like design, sustainability and “how amazing” the design was. You can see the winning entry here.

Closer to home, just last month the Minecraft NI map was launched, using Ordnance Survey data to recreate the entirety of NI. People have already started using it to build their own houses, schools and neighbourhoods in Minecraft and in September the map will be used in schools as part of CultureTECH’s Minecraft education programme.

Which begs the question: “How else can we use Minecraft to help young people have a say in the world around them?”

Watch the video here

Belfast Telegraph

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