Since 2012, UN-Habitat (United Nations Human Settlements Program) which is the UN program for sustainable cities, and the founders of Minecraft, have been collaborating on an innovative partnership in which Minecraft is used as a community participation tool for urban design of public spaces.
But what is Minecraft? Minecraft is a successful videogame that enables players to build constructions out of cubes in a 3D world. And that is exactly why UN-Habitat program was interested in this videogame. Indeed, Minecraft is a wonderful tool to engage communities!
How does UN-Habitat succeed in engaging the communities in the design of urban public spaces? UN-Habitat and partners bring people together during five-day workshops during which youngsters, women, senior, students or people with special needs or concerned by the public space renovation will work together to find urban design ideas through the use of Minecraft. Then, the best designs are introduced to city authorities and local governments.
The use of Minecraft is very interesting because it changes the relationships, more people are involved in the project and the Minecraft 3D models are very easy to understand. In that way, urban public space design is not only the architect and authorities design but also the inhabitants design. In fact, people who will use the public space know what they want and involving them is thus important. For example, this program had a tremendous success in the renovation of a Mexican square: more than 1’000 youth and children came to the workshop to design the new square on Minecraft thus yielding to lot of fresh ideas.
Three projects done in Kosovo, Mexico and Bangladesh were presented during the conference. Sohel Rana for Bangladesh, Klodeta Krasniqi for Kosovo and Eugenio Gastelum for Mexico agree to say that the Minecraft workshops allow to identify key priorities and key stakeholders for the public space renovation. Future challenges will be to have more time for workshops and try to involve even more people even if they have never used a computer.
This conference was presented by P.Westerberg (Digital Projects Officer at UN-Habitat), S.Rana (Urban Planner at UN-Habitat Bangladesh), K.Krasniqi (Urban Planner at UN-Habitat Kosovo) and E.Gastelum (Minecraft Mexico) during Tech4Dev 2016.
If you want to know more about UN-Habitat programme, click here.
You can have more information concerning the Kosovo project in Youtube.
Last modified: 11 mai 2016