Block by Block

After helping people in Sweden change their neighborhoods with Minecraft, developer Mojang is expanding its reconstruction project to other urban areas around the world.

The company announced today that it is working with UN-Habitat (the United Nations Human Settlements Programme) to involve youth in the urban planning process by allowing them to visualize their homes as virtual cities. Mojang is acting as the main financial sponsor for the new Block by Block program, and its three-year partnership also supports the UN-Habitat’s Sustainable Urban Development Network, which seeks to improve 300 public spaces by 2016.

The pilot project is located in Kibera — a settlement in Nairobi, Kenya — and has already entered the planning phase. The builder group “FyreUK”  re-created the site in Minecraft.

Block by Block pilot

Mojang’s work on last year’s Mina Kvarter (My Blocks) with Svensk Byggtjänst (Swedish Building Services) helped to restore and modernize the housing developments of the “Million Programme,” which the Swedish government started in 1965 as a response to the fast-growing population. Over a 10-year period, the government built 1 million new apartments and dwellings for those suffering from the housing shortage.

Through Mina Kvarter, Minecraft gave people the tools to shape their own neighborhoods without the need for architectural training. Today, the successful project is moving to more areas in Sweden.

Mojang is currently establishing a website for Block by Block.