Skip to main content

Arts, Culture, and Placemaking


Whether it’s nurturing a community garden, hosting a flash mob somewhere unexpected in your neighborhood, or contributing to a public mural, placemaking activities can help us feel that we belong to a place, and that the place belongs to us too.

Placemaking aims to strengthen the connection between communities/community members and the places and spaces we share. It refers to a collaborative process in which we can intentionally shape our public spaces and share their value.

As a living document, this page will provide you with evergreen stories and resources from the network that place the work of arts and cultural organizations, artists, and cultural practitioners at the center of placemaking.

Illustration by: Christie Carrière 加文. Groups and artists featured: Tea Base (mahjong), Hong Luck Kung Fu, Happy Dancing Group, Friends of Chinatown TO (garden), Queens of Dim Sum, Milkshook Queen, Destiny Doll, and RAW Taiko Drummers.

Arts & Culture Across Chinatowns in Canada

This video series explores how cultural and artistic groups in Chinatowns serve as essential influences in our societal ecosystem, with arts, culture, and placemaking firmly set as the foundation of rebuilding.

Placemaking in Chinatowns Across Canada with Steph Wong Ken

What is the role of arts and culture in Chinatowns?

Steph Wong Ken is a writer, activist, and community organizer. She shared with us reflections on working in and writing about Chinatowns across Canada and the complexities of relating one’s identity to a place, and placemaking as identity.

Articles mentioned:

Community is Never Neutral: Placemaking in Chinatowns Across Canada by Steph Wong Ken

Editorial: Chinatown by Steph Wong Ken

Artists are responding to the ways that Chinatown can be a vessel for identity and belonging but it can also be a vessel for displacement and reclamation.

– Steph Wong Ken

Placemaking and belonging with Long Time No See Collective

How do arts and culture in Chinatowns relate to community building, placemaking, activism, pandemic recovery, intergenerational dialogue, and community resilience?

During our chat with Long Time No See Collective, Rick Wong, Brenda Joy Lem, and Amy Shuang Wang shared about their latest community engagement project “Longing Belonging ✿ 100 Years 100 Stories” and the intention behind photographing and interviewing people in spaces that elicit sentiments of belonging.

More about the exhibition “Longing Belonging ✿ 100 Years 100 Stories”: Long Time No See Chinatown TO


The following articles, toolkits, and other resources explore what is placemaking and how placemaking contributes to regeneration—with examples and methods on how to cultivate new partnerships initiatives, and how to connect communities through public space.


What is Placemaking?, Project for Public Spaces

Canada's Placemaking Community

Creative Communities and Arts-Based Placemaking, Project for Public Spaces

Arts-based Placemaking is an integrative approach to urban planning and community building that stimulates local economies and leads to increased innovation, cultural diversity, and civic engagement.

Through an Indigenous Lens: A Shift From Placemaking to Placekeeping, Evergreen Brick Works

Placekeeping—an approach to city building that prioritizes ecological, historical, and cultural relationships in the care of ‘place’.

INsiders Artist Project, STEPS Public Art

STEPS invites community members to create temporary public artworks to animate the public-facing parts of their homes during a time of physical distancing.

Art as a Tool for Public Health Engagement: A Canadian Overview, Taboo Health

Using Public Art As a Method for Advocacy

The Story of Our Stories: A Regional Community-Engaged Research Project, Thinking Rock Community Arts

How Community-Engaged Arts Initiatives are Focusing on the Environment, ArtBridges

A cross-Canada list of examples where groups are using green spaces and parks to inspire arts and culture activities.