On 10 December – the day of the Nobel Award Ceremony – the finals of the competition Your future city in Minecraft were held in Tokyo. The competition, which was launched in November, targeted school children aged 9–15 and entailed designing a sustainable city fit for 2030 using the game Minecraft.
Finals in the spirit of creativity
More than 400 children submitted entries to the competition, which was positively received by parents, teachers and the media. On finals day, the Embassy’s exhibition hall was taken over by the finalists: 100 enthusiastic school children divided into 29 groups. Each group got to present its entry to a jury consisting of Embassy representatives, Dr Lars Reuterswärd (Professor Emeritus at Lund University and expert in sustainable urban planning, who travelled from Sweden to attend), Akaishi Sensei (a well-known YouTuber in Minecraft circles), and Stefan Sjöström (a Swede representing Microsoft). Ambassador Magnus Robach had the casting vote.
Jury faced difficult choice
The jury were hugely impressed by the children’s creativity. Despite their tender years – some of the entrants were just 9 years old – they were calm and collected as they presented their entries. During the day, the children were also able to decorate the walls with their entries and play Minecraft on the laptops provided.
When all of the presentations were complete, the jury gathered to deliberate and decide on a winning entry. Based on the criteria of sustainability/Global Goals and creativity/technology, they agreed that the winners were the group Kizuna5 (‘the connected five’) from a school in Tokyo. The group, who were among the youngest competitors, consisted of four boys and one girl aged between 9 and 10. Their city focused on renewable energy and the group had come up with a football pitch that generated electricity from the players running on it and a farm where the movements of the animals generated electricity. The jury was impressed by the group’s innovative ideas, which took account of the environmental sustainability aspects.
Nobel banquet for 100 children
Since finals day was held on the same day as the Nobel Award Ceremony, the 100 young finalists were invited to the Ambassador’s residence for a three-course sit-down dinner in the style of the Nobel banquet. The Ambassador gave a speech at the dinner, hailing the children as our future – maybe there was even a future Nobel laureate in the room? Dr Lars Reuterswärd encouraged the young finalists to engage with their immediate environment and to keep thinking innovatively.
Could have taken photos forever
Following the dinner, the children were reunited with their parents in high spirits, and it seemed like they could have taken photos forever. Parents and children alike were delighted. A group of happy children and grateful parents bade farewell to the Embassy staff after a long, creative and fun day.