Published on 7 April 2014
The University of the Sunshine Coast has joined forces with 18 other organisations to sponsor an exciting competition that will see global users of the popular computer game, Minecraft, suggesting innovative urban design options for the Sunshine Coast.
The competition, which began on Saturday 5 April, is encouraging Minecraft enthusiasts to dream up better cities and technologies to enhance the lives of Sunshine Coast residents and, in turn, others around the world.
Contestants have the chance to win prizes, valued at thousands of dollars, by entering the competition. A video about the competition and further details can be viewed on Youtube.
The competition has been organised by The-Core – a consortium of 19 corporations and organisations that believe in the imagination and creativity of young people.
The-Core co-founder Craig Josic said Minecraft was the ideal game for this project as it promoted creativity and building and had more than 33 million users worldwide.
“The strong community built around Minecraft means that The-Core can bring a diverse group of people who, while sharing similar interests, have unique points of view that will lead to things we can only dream of,” he said.
“The Sunshine Coast has gained a reputation as one of the most tech-savvy communities in the world, winning multiple awards including the State e-Town award from Google last year. This achievement helped inspire the creation of The-Core and this competition.”
USC computer gaming researcher Colleen Stieler-Hunt said games like Minecraft gave children great opportunities to create and explore ideas.
“There are lots of personal skills that children learn through playing games, such as persistence, creativity and working together,” she said. “These are all life skills that you can apply outside the gaming environment.”
Ms Stieler-Hunt said she recently saw Minecraft used at a primary school to promote literacy, with Year 2 students writing enthusiastically about their Minecraft adventures.
“For many children, the experience of playing a game is just as interesting as going on an excursion,” she said.
Ms Stieler-Hunt, a PhD candidate at USC’s Engage Research Lab, said this urban design competition could lead to significant innovations.
“With Minecraft, it’s a world without constraints, so you can start to dream big,” she said. “Some of the ideas mightn’t be able to be applied in the real world, but aspects of them will.
“And by looking at the worlds that kids create, you can get an idea of what’s important to them and bring that into consideration when designing urban areas, rather than just having adults deciding what children need.”
The entry fee is $15 some of which will be donated to charities and to Minecraft’s “Block by Block” program, which gives young people opportunities to be involved in urban design globally.
Along with USC, the competition is sponsored by the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre, JosicMedia, Inn-Spire, Three60 Films, Regional Development Australia, Sunshine Coast Daily, Sunshine Coast Destination, St George Bank, Cloud DC, The Various Artists, MenteeCo, The Creative Collective, Harp Media, Craft-RP, QAdvertising, Traffika, BizDojo and GroupX.
— Terry Walsh