UN-Habitat Kosovo won the 1st prize in the category of innovation in Urban Design Awards 2021
The project Building Peace in Kosovo, which used the computer game Minecraft and involved 70 residents of Pristina to transform a neglected public space of their city, was awarded with the 1st prize in the innovation category of Urban Design Awards 2021 in London.
In their evaluation, besides the quality and the way it was presented, the judges have described the project as “a powerful, innovative and truly inclusive way to involve hard to reach communities in the design of their neighborhoods”. The project Building Peace in Kosovo won amongst finalists from the University College London and Oxford Brookes University.
The project implemented by UN-Habitat Kosovo, The Block-by-Block Foundation and Municipality of Pristina, focused on the site of a former green market in Sunny Hill, one of Pristina’s largest and most populous neighborhoods. The site’s temporary market structures had been removed, leaving an abandoned, concrete-covered space that was rarely used by the community’s 4,000 residents.
In September 2015, more than 70 Pristina residents participated in a Block-by-Block Workshop to redesign the former Sunny Hill marketplace. After initial discussions on urban design and the importance of public space, the participants divided into small teams to model different solutions. The participants then co-created the final design on a multiplayer Minecraft server, based on the ideas generated by the teams. The designs were presented to a wide audience of urban professionals, including the mayor of Pristina. The final concept featured a range of facilities addressing the needs of various groups, including gardens, comfortable resting places, a playground, and Kosovo’s first skatepark.
In 2020, we revisited the site and spoke to many of the residents who were involved in the original workshop. Not only were they still using and caring for the public space which they had designed, but the project had inspired another public space development to the North of Pristina.