The role of technologies in the era of urbanization is key to narrow down several challenges and gaps cities are facing. The use of technologies enables urban citizens to be heard by professionals, politicians and decision makers on how cities should look like, on how they should be re-imagined and on how citizens could be part of the building process of their cities. Among many existing tools worldwide to create and strengthen the broken chains of the city planning process is the UN-Habitat [i] Public Participation Tool, Minecraft.
Even though Minecraft is a 3d video game with over 100 million players worldwide, communities in the developing world use it as a way to experiment different possibilities of their public spaces, their neighborhoods and their cities. Communities in some part of the world use Minecraft to tackle their challenges, using this digital tool to discuss and negotiate among each other, prioritize their needs, address challenges and convert urbanization to opportunities, to negotiate with decision makers and professionals, and to come up with a communal vision and goals. The advantage of Minecraft is its capacity to involve every one without any kind of segregation; age, gender division, belief, status or level of education one has to build a community centered city.
UN-Habitat triggered by the internationally agreed, “leave no one behind” agenda which underlines the full participation of communities for building cities, promotes access to technologies to address people's challenges and to cope with urbanization realities. In the process of implementing this agenda and goal, UN-HABITAT with other stakeholders is involved in the participation of refugee settlers and host communities in the North of Kenya, Kalobeyei, to upgrade and rehabilitate public spaces. In this project refugees from 6 different countries and the host communities in the Turkana county sat together to analyze different problems and solutions to make their public spaces more inclusive, climate resilient, usable, and supportive to community building, bringing together people of different cultures and society.
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