Recreate Brighton and Hove in new digital map

“Imagine being able to design your city, your way.”

Those are the words of two young entrepreneurs that are aiming to build a digital map of Brighton and Hove, which could be a hit with children and town planners alike.

Joe and Megan of Blockbuilders

Joe and Megan of Blockbuilders

Joe Palmer and Megan Leckie are the co-founders of Blockbuilders UK, which runs workshops for children in Minecraft, but also works with council planners in engaging more people in public consultation. They have set up a crowdfunding campaign to create Brighton and Hove in Minecraft, a popular children’s computer game.

Mr Palmer said: “Minecraft is essentially like digital Lego, it’s a game based around placing blocks and breaking blocks and that’s why it fits so well around planning.”

The pair’s campaign to fund the map of the city has an initial target of £7,000 and a stretch target of £100,000.

They have already created landmark sites in Minecraft, such as the Palace Pier, i360 and Royal Pavilion, but the £7,000 mark will allow them to purchase the data to complete the poor resolution areas of the map. If they hit the £100,000 target, it will allow them to model the entire Brighton and Hove map in photorealistic detail.

Rewards for crowdfunders include artwork, Minecraft workshops, and even the chance to own your own street on the map.

Blockbuilders UK, which was formed in 2014, first started out exploring how to get young people engaged in town planning and becoming active citizens through digital technology. The pair ran workshops with children at Brighton Digital Festival, and started to look at how they could use Minecraft to help councils and developers.

On getting children involved in the planning process, Mr Palmer said: “A lot of people think they are only ever going to build roller coasters or skate parks, but what you actually find is kids really do care about what goes on in their environment, they’ve got a really good understanding of it and they are not afraid to say what they think. They come up with so many great ideas, you never know what they are going to come up with.”

He added: “The aim of this funding is we will be able to put the map on a server online and kids will be able to log in at home and play around with it. But we will also use it for what we do, working with the council and developers. It will be a fun play thing for children at home but it will also be really useful for us.”

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