A Minecraft representation of Croydon town centre

Reinventing London: How Minecraft Education is helping students design a greener Croydon

Croydon’s history spans centuries — and it has the architecture to prove it. Often synonymous with post-war era buildings, Croydon in fact has 327 listed buildings, dating back to before Domesday records in 1086.

But there’s a new era of design on the horizon for London’s southernmost borough — and it’s based in a video game.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has joined forces with Minecraft for an exciting challenge aimed at young Londoners. The 2023 Design Future London Schools Challenge invites students to build their future London in Minecraft, through a partnership between City Hall, Microsoft’s Minecraft Education and C40 Cities.

Designing a greener Croydon with STEM

Primary and secondary pupils, as well as college and university students, are being tasked with reimagining Croydon town centre to make it a greener, safer, and a more prosperous place for everyone. As the chair of C40 Cities, a network of global mayors aiming to tackle the climate crisis with science-backed targets, Sadiq Khan is keen to put sustainability at the heart of the challenge.

The Mayor even makes his virtual debut as a non-player character (NPC), introducing the game to young Londoners and outlining the challenge: to make sustainable changes to a Minecraft version of Croydon town centre using their creative design skills.

Each participating team of students will then produce a 2-minute video of their Minecraft creations, explaining their vision of a greener Croydon.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Creating a greener, fairer and more prosperous London for generations to come is a key priority of mine. Achieving my missions of tackling air pollution and reaching net zero carbon by 2030 are a huge part of this, so I’m thrilled to be getting help from the voices of tomorrow.” 

“It was an honour to be rendered in blocks and join the Minecraft family to launch the Design Future London Schools Challenge to young Londoners. The London Minecraft World is a fun and engaging way for young Londoners to think critically about the built environment, collaborate with friends and peers, and be creative in showcasing their vision for the capital’s future.”

“I can’t wait to see the brilliant ideas that come out of this challenge and wish all young Londoners taking part the very best of luck with their entries.”

Empowering young people to make change

The competition offers young Londoners the opportunity to put science-based thinking behind their designs. To support this, the Greater London Authority is providing free access to Minecraft Education to all schools across London.

Minecraft Education is a game-based learning platform set in the Minecraft universe and used by millions of educators and students around the world.

A Minecraft representation of the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in Minecraft

Through creative challenges like Schools Reinventing Cities, thousands of young people are engaging in real-world issues impacting their communities — and then designing a more inclusive, sustainable future.

“Students from around the world have amazed us with their creativity in designing sustainable solutions for their communities in Minecraft build challenges,” said Allison Matthews, Head of Minecraft Education. “We are thrilled that through this partnership with The Mayor of London and C40, we will connect these ideas directly to the leadership of London. The Design Future London challenge will empower students with an understanding of how climate change is impacting Croydon, inspire their thinking on future green careers, and show city leaders what kind of city they want to grow up in.”

Microsoft UK’s CEO, Clare Barclay, said of the initiative: “I’m delighted to be partnering with the Mayor of London and C40 to bring free Minecraft Education licenses to schools across London. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to support the Mayor’s agenda for sustainability and education, and to encourage young people to reimagine the places they live. I can’t wait to see what the students create.”

The closing date for all entries is Tuesday 25 April 2023. To register your interest, you can submit via this form, and find full details of the challenge here .