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 Wuhan, China
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.

September 7, 2019 | Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) | New Orleans, Louisiana

Board member James Delaney will present an academic paper co-authored with UN-Habitat exploring the role of digital technologies in participatory, playful public space engagement and design at the 4S annual meeting, "Innovations, Interruptions, Regenerations."

September 10, 2019 | Active London | London, United Kingdom

Board member James Delaney will share the Block by Block Methodology at Active London, which brings together thought leaders in physical activity, public health, transport, urban planning, policy, environment, education, and community engagement.

September 28, 2019 | MineCon Live

A live celebration of all things Minecraft! Exciting demos, panel discussions, and updates, including the full Block by Block video and a special guest appearance by board member James Delaney.

October 15-17, 2019 | Asia-Pacific Urban Forum 7 | Penang, Malaysia

Board members Kyle Farrell and Celine d'Cruz will present “Public Space and Digital Transformation: A Participatory Approach to Community Building” at the region's largest and most diverse urban forum.

October 31, 2019 | Urban Girls Movement Botkyrka Final Conference | Stockholm, Sweden

During an international conference for UN World Cities Day, participants in Global Utmaning's Urban Girls Movement will present their final results and recommendations to local policy makers and collaborate with experts to turn their proposals into reality.

December 4-6, 2019 | Block by Block Board Meeting and Site Visits | Byblos, Lebanon

The Block by Block board will convene in Byblos to visit several project sites and plan future initiatives.

February 8-13, 2020 | World Urban Forum 10 | Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

The World Urban Forum, convened by UN-Habitat, is the world’s most important conference on cities and an opportunity for thousands of participants to share practices and knowledge on how cities are built, planned, and managed. The theme for WUF10 is "Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation."


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.