09-08-2021 Skills & Tips

A competition on Minecraft tells the world what landscape designers do

In June 2021, the ASLA launched a landscaping competition high-school pupils using the Minecraft video game.


Valorizing landscaping trades to young people is a crucial issue for the sector and landscaping businesses use all their imagination to get them interested. In June 2021, the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) launched a pilot project – a landscaping design competition for high-school pupils inserted into the Minecraft video game. A daring bet – which worked!

Using the video game to get off the beaten track… and build other paths

Launched on June 12, 2021, this contest shows that ASLA understands youngsters very well. Rather than using conventional media, ASLA used the video game as a fun teaching tool to create vocations as landscape designers.

Minecraft, a famous video construction game, in which players have a great deal of freedom, is a true revolution in the video game universe, so much so that it has become the best-selling game ever. Players enter a system composed of blocks which they can cut, create and destroy, allowing them to build an infinite number of structures in collaboration with other players. A tool quite like the 3D software used by professional landscapers!

Its benefits as a teaching tool are such that today many schools use an educational version of Minecraft. Still more surprising, in 2012, the UNO introduced the Block by Block Foundation program to help communities transform their neglected urban spaces using Minecraft as a design tool.

More ideas to boost the appeal of landscaping trades

Among the main themes of Paysalia 2021 are jobs and training, centered on a dedicated village – a place to chat with other professionals, learn new ways of promoting landscaping trades and boost recruitment at every level in the sector.

Visit Paysalia trade show

Understanding the challenges of a public park via a competition on Minecraft

Minecraft is an ideal vector for this landscape architecture competition during which students were asked to:

  1. Choose a public park in their city.
  2. Identify a problem in the existing landscaping.
  3. Invent new solutions with help from ASLA professionals
  4. Create and test the new installation in Minecraft.

In this Minecraft competition, ASLA promotes landscaping through concepts related to the green city: landscape design, climatic impact, rain water management, etc.

Landscape architecture so often starts with drawings on papers and can evolve into modeling. I found that Minecraft is a hybrid of those two ideas; it’s abstract enough to communicate ideas and forms, but refined enough to develop and create entire worlds.

— Jeff Holzer, ASLA

Read also: Landscaping contest that help young designers to progress

Re-landscaping Miami’s Concord Park was voted the best project

DASH (Design & Architecture Senior High School) won first place with its landscape design for Concord Park, which currently only proposes one vast walking space and little leisure equipment.

Aerial view of the Concord Park

Landscaping project from the DASH high school

The Concord Park by night

The high-school pupils imagined and created in Minecraft a car park, sports grounds, cycle paths and a refreshing water garden. They also added a play area around a tree house and a space dedicated to barbecues. Very close attention was paid to the park lighting which could be tested directly in the Minecraft version. All information about this landscape design competition is available on the ASLA website.

Thanks to this competition on Minecraft, high-school pupils explored the latest concepts in sustainable urbanism such as urban lighting or the importance of cool spots. For one whole week they became landscape designers, a job they had never thought about before. New recruits in the offing!

© Crédits photos : Park university


in co-production with