In what is likely the strangest, most amusing case of life-imitates-art-imitates-life, it appears that the free-form, sandbox-y block-placing smash hit Minecraft will now be used to submit entries in contests to redesign real world buildings. The initiative is called Block by Block, a joint venture between the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Mojang.
UN-Habitat is a UN agency with a mission of promoting sustainable towns and cities. The goal is to engage young people (and realistically, any users of the PC version of Minecraft) in the design and upgrade of a total of 300 public spaces by 2016. Look for one of the first projects, Plaza Tlaxcoaque, to have its design presentation on April 27, 2014, with real architects transforming the models into real designs to present to city officials sometime later. Work in Nairobi has already begun, and similar efforts have started in Haiti, India, and Nepal.
Block by Block is a truly innovative and commendable international undertaking and goes to show how the gaming industry can give back to communities in creative ways. Being able to engage the gamers, themselves, is phenomenal, as well.
Here’s hoping no creepers slip into the presentations. It’d be a shame if something were to happen to these lovely models.