29th April 2018, Djerba, Tunisia – Under the framework of UN-Habitat Regional Public Space Programme, serving SDG11 and its target “Providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, by 2030, particularly for women, children, older persons and persons with disabilities”, UN-Habitat organized the first Minecraft workshop in Djerba, Tunisia to allow the residents to express their needs for a prospective public space in Aouled Omar in Djerba.

The two-day workshop was held on 6th and 7th of April to introduce the use of Minecraft, as participatory tool for designing public spaces and engaging local citizens. The public space pilot project is funded by the Regional Public Space Programme for Arab States and is being implemented in cooperation with UN-Habitat Tunisia Country office and the local Implementing partner (Tunaruz) and the Municipality of Midoun.

Djerba has an exacerbating challenge of water governance along with a pressing need to upgrade public spaces into inclusive areas for all gender and social categories. The prospective space is in a decentralized district of Midoun where there is a pressing need for an accessible and secure open space.

The workshop, which was conducted as part of OFFAR project: Espace de loisir d’émancipation citoyenne et culturelle (OFFAR: Leisure space for civic and cultural emancipation), gathered a total of 34 participants from local residents, comprising different age groups; including retired men and women, youth and children. Students were also able to join the workshop in the afternoon after school hours.

The workshop was conducted in Arabic and the Minecraft software was installed in French to suit the local residents in Tunisia.

After an introduction to public spaces and their main pillars of safety, inclusivity and accessibility along with the usage of the Minecraft tool, participants were encouraged to share their vision of public spaces, their priorities, and what they think should be available in public spaces, with guidance from the session facilitators on defining the nature and typologies of public spaces.

The Minecraft participatory design workshop allowed the participants to reflect their vision and needs for the prospective public space. The participants were divided into 7 groups of different age and gender to ensure inclusivity of the design. As the workshop progressed, the participants developed their models, which were presented on the second day. Among the proposed needs: a library, a football field and a kids space were mentioned the most.

One of the participants stated at his presentation: “The public space is the citizen’s responsibility” - Ayoub, 10 years old

During the workshop, Ideas presented by participants were noted, afterwards a final model that combines the agreed upon ideas will be developed in accordance with the context and the needs of Djerba island. This shall be documented and communicated to the architect who will undertake the execution of the public space upgrading in Aouled Omar area, under the management of the Local Implementing Partner (TUNARUZ).

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