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Nova Scotia Main Streets Initiative

Master Planning


Nova Scotia's Main Streets play dual roles in their communities and must be cultivated so they can continue to thrive. In early 2020, members of FBM's Planning Studio, in collaboration with the Nova Scotia Federation of Municipalities, engaged close to 100 community members in understanding the goals and challenges of their Main Streets.

Mainstreeting supports walkability, connectivity, and economic activity in small and rural municipalities with secondary highways as their main street. When a highway intersects a community, it often limits the municipality’s potential for placemaking and active transportation initiatives.

Months of research and hands-on study, including workshops in three small communities in Nova Scotia, St. Peters, Westville, and Elmsdale, resulted in a 72-page interactive report. 'Nova Scotia Main Street Initiative Community Workbook,' provides principles, approaches, and policy considerations to foster vibrant Main Streets.

The report details small and rural towns' reliance on traffic to keep their economic engines running. But adapting them to accommodate active transportation routes, accessibility features and placemaking efforts are worthwhile efforts to supporting priorities for pedestrians and local businesses.

Download the Community Workbook at

Funding for the project was provided by The Department of Energy and Mines Connect2 research and community engagement program. NSFM’s Active Transportation Committee made the application for the project, and secured matching and in-kind funding for a total of $38,000.

The work is also made possible by support and input from Bicycle Nova Scotia, Ecology Action Centre, Develop Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, students from the Dalhousie University School of Planning, Cape Breton Partnership, Halifax Regional Municipality, Municipality of Chester, Municipality of East Hants, Pictou County Regional Enterprise Network, Municipality of the County of Richmond, St. Peter’s Economic Development Organization, and Town of Westville.

Type: Urban Design and Community Engagement

Location: regional Nova Scotia, Cape Breton