Building Vibrant Spaces through the ‘Power of 10’
To support their mission of strengthening and revitalizing cities and communities through conscious planning, education and design, the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) developed the ‘Power of 10,’ a framework for advancing place-based growth built on the principle that if you want a thriving community, more is better.
Simply put, the spirit of the model is – the more there is to do in a space, the more people will be drawn to the space, bringing energy, life, and purpose with them, along with all the other social and economic benefits that come with being a destination in demand.
This is achieved by examining the place you wish to revitalize, and mindfully taking stock. What amenities already exist that draw people there? What activities could be introduced to the space that would bring in a wider range and number of patrons (greater diversity, more age groups, etc.)? The more activities provided, the more attractive the space becomes to a greater number of people.
For example, some open space for picnics or a place to relax is a nice thing for a neighborhood to have, but open space with benches, a fountain, and a playground is even better and will appeal to a larger crowd; adding a baseball diamond, staging outdoor concerts, and encouraging restaurants to open up nearby is greater still.
In terms of how many activities a space should strive to contain, PPS has settled on ten (thus the name), but this number is meant to be a guide-post only, not a rule. What matters is preserving the intention of the model – more options lead to more robust places – but the number can vary based on context. For example, a small rural community will likely have fewer activities to offer and fewer residents to attract than a denser urban center.
The model can also be scaled up to examine regional robustness. Looking from a city or district vantage point, the objective moves from increasing the number of things to do in a defined space, to expanding the number of vibrant destinations accessible regionally. The more great neighborhoods nearby that a person can visit, the more dynamic the area as a whole.
The ‘Power of 10’ facilitates the place-making process by helping residents and designers consciously build desirability into a space. It also establishes a set of distinct incremental goals that engaged parties can work toward in their quest for long-term neighborhood growth.
Does the Power of Ten seem like an effective place-making strategy? Do you think this model could help the neighborhoods you serve?
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Photo with Graphics Courtesy of the Project for Public Spaces