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Riga jumps on Minecraft to engage high school students in urban planning

In the Latvian capital of Riga, educators have found a way to get children actively involved in thinking about how their city might evolve and take shape in the future. They turned to a virtual world familiar to most kids: Minecraft. A digital twin of Riga was designed that every pupil can access through the game's education edition.

In an extra-curricular pilot with external partners, twenty existing buildings in the city's historical center were selected for participants to redevelop. Teams of students visited the sites, which included Riga's opera house and a Radisson Blu hotel. The teams then got to work in Minecraft, where they had twelve days to redesign and reconstruct their building's environment.

Riga's city council is now looking into other ways to implement Minecraft into its curriculum, including in subjects like chemistry and biology.

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Since urban planning decisions made today will affect the lives of young people for many years to come, it's crucial to get them involved and hear their voices. But planning is complex, riddled with jargon and concepts that are challenging to grasp. Minecraft allows Riga's educators to go beyond words. By getting hands-on, students can gain a deeper understanding of their built environment and develop their own perspectives on creating livable and sustainable communities.

The opportunities here aren't confined to schools and students — how could your brand use virtual worlds to convey complex information, make abstract concepts tangible and ultimately empower your audience?

Related: Alóki's virtual world connects users to its real, 750-acre sanctuary in Costa Rica