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.