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Click on each of the icons below to find out how to aestheticize your neighbourhood for everyone

Rural / Remote

Activities that promote vibrant, large, and colourful visuals are great for vast spaces. In areas where there are periods of prolonged dark, add lights (lanterns, decorative lights) to the installments.

Residences (Dwellings)

Decorate stairways in apartment buildings, yarn bomb the trees in a mobile home neighbourhood. Have youth living in emergency shelters decorate through arts and crafts.

Equity, Diversity, Inclusion

Use this strategy to become acquainted with the creativity, cultures, beliefs, and values of your neighbours. Encourage multi-cultural displays. Draw rainbow crossings throughout neighbourhoods.


For all physically active installations, consider elements of accessibility. For example, include artwork involving texture and sound for people who are visually impaired. Place artwork or interactive installations at a level that people using wheelchairs can see and interact with.


Ensure that art displays and other forms of aestheticizing are displayed at different levels to accommodate the smallest neighbourhood residents. Include activities that people of all ages can relate to and that have meaning. Provide opportunities for different generations to share knowledge about creating art (e.g., digitally produced, weaving).


Where possible, incorporate art installations that can withstand the elements but that are also biodegradable and not harmful to the environment. Use lights and natural elements to decorate.

Yarn Bombing

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Give your trees a winter coat! Knitting has been shown to improve mental health and decrease stress. Try this relaxing activity and beautify your neighbourhood at the same time. Learn more about the history of yarn bombing and connect with others who do it here. Important reminder to use natural fibre that can breakdown in nature.

Make it more active – Yarn bombing or any other display of your creative talents lend themselves to a walking or wheeling tour of the area, especially if some of your neighbours get in on the decorating. Using social media or community advertising (e.g., local paper, libraries), promote your installation as a walking art gallery.

Furnish Your Space

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Have you ever been out walking/wheeling and needed to sit down to take a break or wait for someone? Seats can be used for rest, physical activity (think tricep dips) and connecting with others. One bench at a time, you can come together with others or help others use space comfortably. Other ways to furnish your space include lampposts or lights, waste bins, tables, and chairs, interesting artwork, and plants.

Document Your Street Through Photography

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Capture the street life and beauty in your neighbourhood and document it with Instagram #streetphotography. You can see the photos that others take in your neighbourhood and share them. Try starting a hashtag for your street or neighbourhood to keep a record of your street throughout the year and engage with others in your neighbourhood.

Make it more active – Using active forms of transportation to get around the neighbourhood, such as walking, wheeling, skateboarding, in-line skating, or scooting, helps you see things you may not or get into different areas off the beaten path, than when driving through in a car.

Turn Trash Into Treasure

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Turn your local garbage can into a work of art! Let your creativity, culture, and sense of humor shine! Learn more about more upcycled art info in public space at and Mosaic Tile Trash Cans.

Make it more active – Decorate trash cans with physical activity pictures (e.g., paint a bike, a child climbing a tree, a beach scene) with sayings to encourage physical activity. How about painting a series of trash cans with different activities (e.g., jumping jacks, running on the spot) and turning it into a ‘movement circuit’.

Create a Little Free Library

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Share the enriching value of books with your community! Learn more about creating or locating a little free library here. Consider putting a bench or some chairs nearby as an inviting spot for people to sit and skim the books or magazines. You can also expand the focus of your library to include physical activity equipment, cooking utensils, small decorative items or anything else people might need.

Make it more active – Install the library in a place that is accessible by walking/wheeling/cycling to support more movement. Organize a community-wide cycling tour of all the little libraries in the community. Encourage participants to bring books to populate the libraries as they go.

Turn Alleyways Into Gathering Spaces for Activity and Art

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Alleyways and streets can be much more than concrete between walls! With some planning, paint, and programming, you can turn any space into a place to gather and love! Check out the Alley Oop in Vancouver as an example, or the alley art invitational in Edmonton organized as part of Canada’s annual 100in1Day tactical urbanism event.

The Alley Art Project by Rockwell Museum


The Alley Art Project by Rockwell Museum connects local high school students to both The Rockwell’s collection and their community at large. Students working under the direction of Rockwell Education staff and annual guest artists have created more than a dozen murals throughout the downtown to date. Students earn credits toward their high school diploma throughout the project, all while cultivating a sense of pride, ownership, and connection to the community.

Back Alley Arctic

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Back Alley Arctic is a walkable, bikeable back lane Arctic Art Gallery in Winnipeg, Manitoba that encourages residents and visitors alike to enjoy the neighbourhood’s architecture and murals.

Year-Round Music Through “Trail Mix”

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Brighten your neighbourhood with your music! Work with local planners to create an official “trail mix” through your local parks featuring local musical artists accessible via QR codes on signs. Communal or crowdsourced information and programming can be a great way to engage people in rural areas who may be frequenting rural trails at different times, regardless of how close they live to each other! Check out the City of Waterloo’s year-round programming for more details and other ideas, and Burlington, Ontario’s initiative during its annual Sound of Music Festival.

Fairy Trail

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Spark your own and your kids’ imaginations by creating your own accessible fairy trail through the forest. Post a treasure map for others to find the fairy houses and do some magic in your neighbourhood.

Art Fences

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Many urban spaces are featureless and unappealing. You can change that with an art fence that both brightens the neighbourhood space and expresses culture. In this example from Squamish, British Columbia, the Squamish Arts Council created a mural walk/wheel festival, promoting each artist on their website and posting a QR code so visitors could find out more about their work.

Rain-activated Stencils

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Does it rain a lot where you live? Sometimes the rain can make us sad, especially when the sun hasn’t been out for multiple days, weeks, or months. With rain-activated stencils or art, you can have something to look forward to on a rainy day. Just as important as enjoying the stencils is the movement involved in putting them in place.

Painted Roads

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Get a neighbourhood group together to plan and execute some street art that can last until the next rainstorm! Cornstarch paint is inexpensive, temporary, and easy to apply, and has the added benefits of enlivening your space and potentially calming traffic.

Rock the Trails

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Placing painted rocks along trails is a great way to engage people of all ages and abilities and can be used as art, as part of a scavenger hunt or to encourage play.

And while you’re painting rocks…

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Think about designing and painting some chairs for public spaces, on your front yard, at a school, in spaces around apartment buildings, in open rural spaces and/or at another community destination that is accessible by walking/wheeling, cycling or other means of active transportation.

Make it more active – Paint the chairs with different physical activities for people to do before they sit down. Paint a series of them to create a little circuit. Promote them through local coffee shops for people stopping in to buy a coffee and finding an outdoor spot to sit.

Add a Quirky Sign to a Space


Here’s a simple idea: bring a smile to the faces of your neighbours and perhaps promote different places and spaces as those that bring a smile with a simple signboard.

Make it more active – Create signboards depicting different physical activities that people can try. Accompany a sign with some active equipment that people can try at that spot or inviting them to use your yard equipment or front yard skating rink.

Quick Tips and Ideas

  • Install trail and park art.
  • Decorate trees in your yard, building common space, or local park with ornaments and natural textiles (year-round or for special occasions). In the winter, add lights and leave them up through the cold, dark months.
  • Host holiday decorating contests (e.g., holiday home tours) to encourage neighbourhood walks in the winter.
  • Paint murals on outdoor walls that are bland. Invite local artists to lead, advise or contribute. Host a mural festival.
  • Knit a big scarf or other object and wrap it around the house or trees of refugee families as a welcome.
  • Build a “gnome home” on the boulevard.
  • Create food colouring art (especially good on the snow).
  • Encourage door decorating and issue a friendly challenge to your neighbours for the most creative/colourful/unique door.