The Power of 10 is a concept PPS uses to start off a Placemaking process.  The idea is that it’s not enough to have just one great place in a neighborhood- you need a number of them to create a truly lively city or town.  It’s not enough to have only one superior neighborhood in a city- you need to provide people all over town with close-to-home opportunities to take pleasure in public life.  And, it’s not enough to have one livable city or town in a region- you need a collection of interesting communities.

Everywhere we bring up this idea, citizens become more energized to turn their places around. The Power of 10 offers an easy framework that motivates residents and stakeholders to revitalize urban life, and shows that by starting efforts at the smallest scale you can accomplish big things. The concept also provides people something tangible to strive for and helps them visualize what it takes to make their community great.

The front of this public building in Melbourne, Australia has ten reasons to be there

At the core of the Power of 10 is the idea that any great place itself needs to offer at least 10 things to do or 10 reasons to be there. These could include a place to sit, playgrounds to enjoy, art to touch, music to hear, food to eat, history to experience, and people to meet. Ideally, some of these activities are unique to that particular spot and are interesting enough to keep people coming back.  The local folks who use the space most regularly are the best source of ideas for what uses will work best.

A great destination has at least 10 places within it, each with 10 things to do

It’s the Placemakers’ role to encourage everyone to think about what’s special in their communities. How many quality places are located nearby, and how are they connected? Are there places that should be more meaningful but aren’t? Answering these questions can help residents and stakeholders determine -both individually and collectively- where they need to focus their energies.

Whether you’re talking about places in a given neighborhood or great neighborhoods within a city, “10” can also refer to the ultimate goals of variety and choice. When we talk about the  “Power of 10,” we are stressing the fact that we should always think of how Placemaking can be accomplished at all scales.

Learn more about the origins of the Power of 10.