Have you ever imagined creating your own city – designing the layout, buildings, and delegating what goes where? Well, if you’ve played video games like Sims, Animal Crossing, or Fortnite you already have created your own virtual world, yet, these games promote hyper resource extraction and often involve a complete transformation from untouched natural landscape to urban center. Block’hood represents the next era of city-building simulation video games that takes on a sustainability approach, focusing on the ecological synergies that can cause flourishment or decay. Players act as city planners and have access to a catalogue of 200+ building blocks and structures to create their own unique neighbourhood and test out the environmental effects of their designs. Each block used will consume and produce various resources needed to support your city and unlock new blocks, but if the required input consumption like sunlight or water is not adequately provided, the block will slowly deteriorate until it collapses. Further, these cities will also attract both humans and animals, but whether or not these populations flourish is based on the player’s ability to maintain an ecological balance in their development. Block’hood won the ‘Best Gameplay’ Award at Games for Change festival in New York in 2016 and was a finalist for ‘Games for Impact’ at The Game Awards in Los Angeles and ‘Best App’ in Fast Company’s Innovation by Design during the same year. Available for purchase on Steam, Block’hood is an educational game that forces its players to gain an encompassing understanding of ecology and man-made systems at play in the development of urbanism that jeopardizes biodiversity and climate change. Whether Block’hood will influence ecological mindfulness for the generations that will have to deal with the harshest implications of climate change is still unknown. Emphasizing the synergies that must exist between urbanism and the environment through online games will hopefully help to instill a critical mindset for the next generation of urban planners, politicians, activists and scientists.  

Parlock, J. (2017, July 24). “How independent video game developers are exploring the world’s environmental issues“. The Telegraph.


Climate Change, Psychology