Urban Innovation

Urban Innovations: 12

Public Space and Digital Transformation: A Participatory Approach to Community Building

Day 1 – Tuesday, 15 October 2019
13:00 - 14:30
Function Room 8
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Nora Steurer
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Lead Organization
Block by Block Foundation
Partner Organizer(s)
  • Block by Block Foundation,
Lead Organizer(s)

Since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, the transformative capabilities of a public space agenda have been growing in recognition. Public space is now being acknowledged for its ability to improve livelihoods, alleviate congestion, promote safety and inclusion, and to serve as the lungs of the city among others. However, too often, public space interventions become aesthetic in nature or are tacked on as additions to larger infrastructure projects after-the-fact. None of this ensures that public space will be designed to meet the needs of its users. This is where Block by Block comes in. Through the use of ‘Minecraft’, Block by Block and UN-Habitat have developed a methodology that uses the popular game to promote participatory urban planning for public spaces and community building. Its success is derived from the fact that it employs user-friendly digital design tools to plan and implement public space interventions. This fosters wider discussions on the needs of users and the priorities of communities. This session brings together the experiences of a wide range of actors – Community Members, NGO’s, Gamers and Representatives of Local Government – to discuss participatory processes for public space planning and to share the experiences from Block by Block on a global scale. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Asia Pacific region and on the thematic areas of gender, poverty and technological transformation.

Objectives of the Session
Introduction of the Topic
Guiding Questions


Save the date!
Join us at the seventh session of the Asia-Pacific Urban Forum (APUF7) in Penang, Malaysia from 15 to 17 October 2019