Minecraft to help real world building

The United Nations is using Minecraft as part of its plans to develop and regenerate areas around the world.

The project, titled Block by Block, was first announced in September and officials have now given further details and demos at Minecon, a conference in Paris for fans of the game.

The idea isn’t so much to use Minecraft to come up with the redevelopment plans in the same way as an architect might use computer aided design. Instead the plan is to take the plans and create a matching virtual town in the game.

The picture above shows a section of Undugu, an “informal settlement” on the outskirts of Nairobi, put together by a group of keen Minecraft players named Fyre UK.

Locals will then be able to look at the plans and take a “virtual” walk around the developed town, taking advantage of the more user-friendly interface of Minecraft. They’ll then be able to make suggestions for how the development could be altered to make it more suitable for people living there. If all goes to plan, it will be used in all of the 300 locations the UN plans to help “upgrade” in the next three years.

The project is a joint effort of UN Habitat and Mojang, the developer of the game. Mojang is the main financial sponsor of the project and is using experience from similar urban development work in its home country of Sweden.

11 Responses to Minecraft to help real world building

  1. That looks terrible! I would think something like Second Life would be a much better choice for doing something like this. The environment would look way more realistic.

  2. This is VERY old news reported a long while back. But to respond to all above commentors, the reason they use this over anything else is because this way they can have the community build their towns the way THEY want it, without teaching the community anything too complex as Minecraft is pure simplicity at its finest.

  3. Old news or not. I thought the point was to first replicate towns and THEN explore and examine them for ways to improve them. From the article saying "make a matching virtual town". I would have to agree with Jonny and say this is purely a PR stunt, public awareness agenda, tactic. This article doesn't say who will be making the towns. Only who has made this particular town. It did say locals would examine and suggest ideas for change. But locals could just as easily navigate other solutions via simple mouse, cursor controls common in many solutions like Blender and others. Unless they are hoping to get all the work done for free by the Minecraft community, I don't see the point. I am sure they could just as easily get free results from the Blender community or other free community tools with better results. Overall I think this whole project will have no quality outcome for the towns they hope to improve. But I hope I am wrong for the sake of those towns.

  4. Why even talk about slow to report news? You can always use Redit if that is your thing. Also, when was this first reported. I did some searching and so far all the news about this is from Nov 26, 2012, which is also when Geeks are Sexy reported it. Can someone please post a link to an earlier date of reporting this? I am just curious how much "earlier" that was. Though I still don't see how it matters. It was new to me yesterday when it was reported.

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