For those doubting the practical power of art, turn your gaze to the district of Palmitas in Pachuca, Mexico, and feel the spirit of joy start a rager in your heart. As a way to rehabilitate the weary neighborhood, the government hooked up with the Germen Crew street artists to turn the homes of 452 families into one immense mural.

Once detonated, the art bomb covered 20,000 square meters and 209 houses in a gorgeous swirl of colors that, frankly, makes my town look like kind of a crapshack.

Besides making me question my choice of zip code, the project has been real-world proof of the should-be-common-sense idea that if we change the world people live in, we can change behavior. Good Magazine writes that the neighborhood reported a near-extinction of violence among young people as the project continued. Maybe that’s tied to all the jobs it created, or maybe it’s just seeing yourself in an environment you can have pride in.

Photos via Germen Nuevo, Germen Nuevo Muralismo Mexicano