There are two very effective ways to animate the public realm, making a place feel safe and interesting. The first is to have large windows overlooking the street, wherever possible. Shops and restaurants are the best for this, as they tend to have the most activity and are usually seeking to advertise their purpose and intrigue potential punters.
These active frontages can also be achieved, to a lesser extent, with residential housing, using living room windows and bedroom balconies. The second opportunity for positive interface is to allow some activity to spill out onto the street. For instance, table and chairs or flowers and plants. Together, a combination of these elements can make us feel safe, in a passive sense, whilst also providing opportunities for things to take notice of.