Block by Block (program)

Block by Block is a charitable initiative founded as a partnership between Minecraft developer Mojang and the United Nations which aims to encourage young people to get involved in urban regeneration.[1] The scheme uses Minecraft to allow children to rebuild and reimagine their hometowns.[2]

The program began in Sweden, where Minecraft was first created, but has since expanded to many other countries.[3] Mojang acts as the primary financial sponsor for the program.[4] The project is part of the UN Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network.[5][6]

The program follows in the footsteps of Mina Kvarter, a similar Swedish initiative that used Minecraft to modernise apartment complexes.[7][8]


In September 2012, Mojang began the Block by Block project in cooperation with UN Habitat to create real-world environments in Minecraft.[9] The project allows young people who live in those environments to participate in designing the changes they would like to see. Using Minecraft, the community has helped reconstruct the areas of concern, and citizens are invited to enter the Minecraft servers and modify their own neighborhood. Carl Manneh, Mojang's managing director, called the game "the perfect tool to facilitate this process", adding "The three-year partnership will support UN-Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016." Mojang signed Minecraft building community, FyreUK, to help render the environments into Minecraft. The first pilot project began in Kibera, one of Nairobi's informal settlements, and is in the planning phase. Block by Block is based on an earlier initiative started in October 2011, Mina Kvarter (My Block), which gave young people in Swedish communities a tool to visualize how they wanted to change their part of town. According to Manneh, the project was a helpful way to visualize urban planning ideas without necessarily having a training in architecture. The ideas presented by the citizens were a template for political decisions.[10]


  1. ^ Rosenberg, Tina (2019-10-15). "Opinion | Building for Real With Digital Blocks (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  2. ^ "Minecraft dev announces 'Block by Block' collaboration with UN". MCV/DEVELOP. 2012-09-06. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  3. ^ "Minecraft is rebuilding urban areas in the real world, one block at a time". VentureBeat. 2012-09-05. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  4. ^ "UN Block by Block project uses Minecraft; lets youth design improvements for their neighbourhood". PCGamesN. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  5. ^ Senior, Tom (2012-09-05). "Minecraft UN Block By Block project to help young people redesign their neighbourhoods". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  6. ^ emilygera (2014-04-22). "Children are using Minecraft to redesign the real world". Polygon. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  7. ^ "UN to use Minecraft for urban development". MCV/DEVELOP. 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  8. ^ Crecente, Brian (2014-04-22). "How Minecraft is helping the United Nations improve the world". Polygon. Retrieved 2020-12-19.
  9. ^ Eördögh, Fruzsina (6 September 2012). "Minecraft Partners With United Nations For Urban Planning". ReadWrite. SAY Media. Archived from the original on 24 November 2012. Retrieved 21 November 2012.
  10. ^ Senior, Tom (5 September 2012). "Minecraft UN Block By Block project to help young people redesign their neighbourhoods". PC Gamer. Future plc. Archived from the original on 7 September 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2012.

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