The future of Croydon’s town centre could be designed by somewhat unconventional architects in a somewhat unconventional way.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has challenged children and young adults to think about ways they can redesign Croydon’s historic town centre in a way that is more sustainable, greener and more prosperous using an educational version of the popular video game Minecraft.

He even appears in blocky form for a trailer for the project, organised by the Design Future London project with the aim of exploring potential creative approaches to reinventing the London borough.

For estate agents in Croydon, the project highlights the engagement the Mayor is bringing to the region as well as getting an impression from young Londoners of the city that they want to see grow around them.

Minecraft, the game published by Mojang and Microsoft at the heart of this endeavour, is the most unique part of the design contest, as it is far from the first time that people have been asked to submit their ideas, and indeed a free copy of its educational edition has been offered to participating students.

It was initially released in a very early form in 2009, and whilst it was technically a game based around surviving a harsh, infinitely generated world, creating items used to build and harvest resources, it became far more famous and successful for the creative scope the game provided.

Because each game world was theoretically 4bn square kilometres in size, cities, countries and even a life-size recreation of the Earth itself have been made as construction projects, and the game’s simplistic but understandable models for biomes, water and plant growth make it ideal for exploring construction ideas.

It has been used to teach history, programming, construction and even city planning, and this has enabled a wider group of people to engage with the regeneration of Croydon’s historic town centre, preserving its heritage whilst looking to the future.