The folks over at Mojang believe that Minecraft is not just an inspiring, delightful, mine-expanding past time, but can real change to people all over the world. Today, they have taken to their blog to announce that they have set setup a new website for Block by Block - a partnership with UN-Habitat which uses Minecraft as a way of engaging communities in the development of public space.
In case you didn't know, with Block by Block, locals and youth in poor, impoverished communities can become engaged in the challenges of creating public spaces and promoting civic identity. As part of the process, the local public space is built in Minecraft, and then the community is invited to go build in Minecraft and put their ideas and what they know they need into the space in the game. Towards the end of the process, the participants are then able to take their designs and present them to the local city council, architects, and the community. There are then discussions about what things should, and should not be implemented and why. After discussions and decisions are made, Mojang then finally helps fund the construction of the real world sites.
Overall, the new website highlights the success of the Block by Block project in cities across the world. So far, after initial tests in Kenya and Nepal, Block by Block has initiated projects in 18 locations across 13 different countries. The website also links to many case studies done about the project,including one on the Kenya Public Space Country Program, another one on improving public spaces in Mumbai, and a third on how Minecraft was used to plan public spaces in Kosvo.
Funding for Block by Block and the resulting development comes from a mixture of local partners, both public and private, UN-Habitat and Mojang. To date, Mojang has mobilized about 1.8 million dollars from the Minecraft community through fundraising initiatives. If you're interested in donating, you can check out the offical website to learn more about the project.