Berlin in Minecraft

Minecraft is a popular computer game that allows players to construct imaginative worlds built solely out of individual blocks. The Minecraft world you see here is based on the 3D city model of Berlin (which is made available as open data); in it, multiple players at once can set to work designing a brand-new Berlin according to their own personal visions. This project presents one way to make a complex topic like urban planning accessible – and enjoyable! – for youths.

Minecraft is a popular computer game that allows players to explore and construct elaborate worlds built solely out of individual, cube-shaped blocks. The gameplay is largely uncomplicated, meaning that the only limit to what you can create is often only your patience for putting all of the necessary blocks together to realize your vision.

Leveraging the game’s popularity among young people, the Technologiestiftung Berlin together with con terra GmbH and the social initiative Joblinge developed a Minecraft version of Berlin’s city center. This Minecraft map, based on a 3D model of the city that had already been made available as open data, was then used by a group of at-risk youth to explore the topic of city planning in a creative, interactive way.

What are the needs of citizens living in Berlin, and how can and should the city be designed to meet those needs? Starting with questions like these, the group of teenagers went around Berlin interviewing citizens, city planners, and architects. Using the information gathered in these conversations, the teens then used the Minecraft map to build an alternative vision of Berlin’s Alexanderplatz, featuring elements like more trees, more water features and more spaces for relaxation.

You can explore the Minecraft map of Berlin – and maybe even do a bit of re-designing yourself – using the monitors and controllers in the CityLAB exhibition.