United Nations taps Minecraft for urban development
September 7, 2012 // 10 a.m.
Indie developer Mojang is teaming up with the United Nations to help upgrade urban spaces around the world through the use of Minecraft.
Working with UN-Habitat to support its Sustainable Development Network, Mojang's 'Block by Block' programme aims to assist the redevelopment of approximately 300 spaces around the world by 2016.
'Block by Block' will allow young people to get involved in the planning processes in urban areas and let them share with planners and decision makers how they would like to see their cities developed.
'Minecraft has turned out to be the perfect tool to facilitate this process,' said Mojang co-founder Carl Manneh.
Mojang will be the main financial sponsor for the scheme and its first project will focus on redeveloping an informal settlement in Nairobi. In order to render the urban environments, Mojang has enlisted the help of Minecraft construction community FyreUK.
The UN first approached Mojang on the back of its Mina Kvarter project in Sweden, which encouraged people to take part in the reconstruction process of neighbourhoods through the infamous open-world block-based game. The programme has been recognised internationally as an alternative way to approach development planning.
'It has proven to be a great way to visualize urban planning ideas without necessarily having architectural training,' added Manneh.
Minecarft had already clocked up approximately 16 million registered users and more than 4 million purchases by the time it officially launched on the PC in November 2011. The title also launched on Xbox Live Arcade in May 2012 and has a mobile edition available on Android and iOS.