Mojang is teaming up with UN Habitat to launch Block By Block, a project that creates real-word environments in Minecraft, and then lets the young people who live in those environments step in and show designers what they'd like to see changed.
"Minecraft has turned out to be the perfect tool to facilitate this process," Manneh writes. "The three-year partnership will support UN-Habitat's Sustainable Urban Development Network to upgrade 300 public spaces by 2016."
Mojang will be the main sponsors of the effort, and have enlisted awesome Minecraft building community Fyre UK to help render environments. "The first pilot project in Kibera one of Nairobi's informal settlements is already in the planning phase," Manneh notes. Here's Fyre UK's build of Undugu playground.
Block By Block is based on an earlier initiative, Mina Kvarter (My Block), which offered young people "a tool to visualize their ideas of how they want to change their part of town."
"It has proven to be a great way to visualize urban planning ideas without necessarily having architectural training. The ideas presented by the citizens lay as a ground for political decisions."