Middle-schoolers use video game to reimagine Hamilton's West Harbour

Using a video game called Minecraft as their canvas, students at Dalewood Middle School in Hamilton, Ont. paint their vision for the city's West Harbour.

Some want to present their plans to city council

City planning is tricky business. Those who do it for a living must pay heed to grownup concerns like zoning, environmental regulations and the cost of building in concrete and steel.

But adult decision-makers aren't the only ones affected by changes in the urban form, nor do they hold a monopoly on smart ideas about how their neighbourhoods should take shape.

Students in a gifted class at Dalewood Middle School in Hamilton, Ont., are throwing this point into sharp (yet pixelated) relief. Using a video game called Minecraft, they've re-envisioned vacant plots of land in the city's post-industrial north end, demonstrating that urban planning can be educational and fun.

What did the process look like? Watch the slideshow below to find out.