Top 10 Ways to Beautify Your City

It takes an entire community effort to beautify your city

ARTICLE | Jun 24, 2013

It takes an entire community effort to beautify your city, but how can you manage it? Cull from these 10 innovative ways to beautify your city, build community engagement, and have fun doing it! 

  1.  Clean Up. Which areas of your community need TLC? Are waste and trash being washed up from nearby waterways, or are trash cans overflowing at the parks? Santa Cruz Neighbors provides a great checklist for planning a community-wide clean up.  
  2. Paint.  Involve students and teachers of local school art classes by asking for designs, ideas, and locations for murals and other public art. Read about communities and their implementation of public art.  
  3. Plant.  Locating areas that could use some sprucing up could be a great way to connect your community. GrowNYC Open Space Greening programs has rejuvenated over 60 community gardens across New York City. For residents who don't have yard space to plant their own gardens, create a community garden space where they can rent spaces to grown their own veggies and flowers.  
  4. Brighten.  Does your community have enough lighting in areas surrounding public transportation, landmarks, and public spaces like parks and fields? Read up on different design plans and functions for light fixtures. Your city is bound to have a logo or a crest. Remarket your city and create branded freebies, like magnets and bumper stickers. Let the world know why your city is great. Read about Salt Lake City's regulations and plans for its city's banners.  
  5. Sell.  Organize community garage sales and be sure to provide names and locations of nearby thrift shops and donation centers where community members can donate what they don’t sell. Learn how to stay organized when planning your community yard sale. Don't forget to advertise in papers, newsletters, and online.  
  6. Exchange.  Create a gardening exchange program in your community. Those with extra seeds and seedlings can nurse these plants and start a neighborhood plant exchange. In her article “How to Clean Up & Beautify Your Neighborhood for Free” on Yahoo! Voices, C. Jeanne Heida writes, “Plants and native grasses all find their way into new yards at no cost to others.”
  7. Recycle.  Investigate which parts of your community do not have available recycling collector bins.  Does your community have a recycling plan? Here are the initial steps your community needs to take to begin making recycling inclusive and a habit.  
  8. Clean Out.  Organize a dumpster collection service to visit your communities during spring cleaning.  See how Prince William County's plan in Virginia incentivizes residents to keep their community clean and organized.    
  9. Create. Create spaces where your residents can enjoy their town and one another. Place seating and small garden spaces that otherwise would be unused and make your community an inviting enrironment. Have you heard about "parklets"? San Francisco and Washington, D.C., have both created parklets to give each block its own miniture green space. This article asks us, what if we had a park for every block?
  10. Enjoy  Does your community sponsor a music festival or an annual Friday night get together? Check out an example we found in Maryland. Catonsville sponsors an event called Frederick Road Fridays where local bands perform a free concert on their Main Street. These events have been known to prompt 1,000 people to come out, enjoy the community, and support the local businesses. 

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