Our Work

Project Selection

Each year, we receive hundreds of applications for Block by Block projects around the world. The Block by Block Project Committee includes renowned experts in public space, urban planning, and architecture as well as activists who work on behalf of the urban poor, including socially excluded or otherwise marginalized people who live on the streets or in slums, favelas, or other informal settlements. The committee meets several times a year to approve the most promising ones for funding to support Block by Block Workshops, construction, policy work, or a combination.

The committee members evaluate proposed projects based on a range of detailed criteria addressing financial sustainability, partner capacity, and suitability for Minecraft as well as project design, accessibility, economic impact, and links to local and global policy. They select a variety of projects incorporating diverse themes including gender equality, youth empowerment, refugee and migrant rights, climate change, accessibility, job creation, cultural heritage, social inclusion and human rights, health, and security. The Project Committee also looks for projects that can scale and serve as catalysts, reaching beyond their defined perimeters and becoming integrated in their surrounding environments. As a result, emphasis is sometimes placed on the specific interventions and sometimes more on the process and the people involved.

Upcoming projects seek to expand impact and build on existing momentum by activating findings from public space assessments, supporting normative and policy work, and consolidating efforts at the country level in Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. The committee has also prioritized projects focusing on poverty, gender inclusivity, cultural heritage, and refugees and migrants.

Block by Block Workshop in Maputo, Mozambique
Credit: Block by Block team

Block by Block Workshop in Wuhan, China
Credit: Block by Block team

Block by Block Workshop in the Gaza Strip
Credit: Block by Block team

We also make our Block by Block Methodology freely available to help projects that are not selected for funding.


Events

Each year we run dozens of collaborative Block by Block Workshops and participate in a number of conferences and events worldwide. To request a speaker or panelist at your event, please get in touch.

May 17, 2019 | Minecraft: Beyond the Game | Stockholm, Sweden

Board members Deirdre Quarnstrom and Thomas Melin celebrate the 10th anniversary of Minecraft at Sida, meeting with educators, colleagues, and partners to reflect, share, and plan how to “Build a Better World” for the next 10 years.

May 27-31, 2019 | UN-Habitat Assembly | Nairobi, Kenya

Board member Thomas Melin represents Block by Block at the UN-Habitat Assembly, Innovation for Better Quality of Life in Cities and Communities.

May 28, 2019 | AI For Good Global Summit | Geneva, Switzerland

Board member Deirdre Quarnstrom participates in a panel, Innovative Applications of AI in Education and Youth, at the United Nations AI For Good Global Summit.

June 4, 2019 | Urban Girls Movement Innovation Lab 6: Recommendations | Botyrka, Sweden

In the final innovation lab in Global Utmaning's Urban Girls Movement program, participants will collaborate with experts to turn their proposals into reality and present recommendations to local policy makers.


Transforming Lives, Block by Block

We go far beyond just considering the needs of local residents. During each project, a wide range of residents—from women and kids to elders, disabled residents, and refugees—are given the tools, training, and platform to contribute their ideas. This collaborative and hands-on approach helps instill a sense of pride and ownership in the project, which increases the likelihood of long-term success. The individual projects add up and build momentum and enthusiasm for more engagement and continued transformation, not just in the community but also in urban planning policies at a local, national, and global level.

To date, Block by Block has activated dozens of projects in more than 30 countries worldwide. Here are just a few examples.