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A collection of lessons learned

The Resident-Led Neighborhood Planning Playbook is designed to provide residents, neighborhood anchor organizations, and other stakeholders with guidance for collectively owning the process of creating their communities’ visions for the future.


Our mission at Invest STL has allowed us to fund a resident-led neighborhood planning process in the West End and Visitation Park neighborhoods in a fashion that is unique to the majority of current and past planning processes; a process designed by residents, with residents, for residents.


For generations, the tradition of neighborhood planning and development has been one that often intentionally or unintentionally directed harm towards existing communities of Black people and other people of color and people with fewer economic means. 

Often this kind of traditional planning is done in the name of progress, frequently led by people and institutions with little stake in the neighborhoods that they are planning for; inevitably cultivating understandable mistrust, skepticism, and at times disengagement in community processes from residents.

A goal of The Resident-Led Neighborhood Planning Playbook is to inspire those involved in neighborhood planning in St. Louis and beyond to choose a resident-led approach, leading to higher chances of creating a more dignifying legacy with their planning efforts, and a more equitable state of community development than we have experienced thus far.

Being truly resident led is to plan with and learn from residents, and while there are few resources and literature that illuminate how to do this, The Resident-Led Neighborhood Planning Playbook is Invest STL and residents of West End and Visitation Park’s offering to neighborhood leaders, the national planning and community development field, and funders on how to approach planning with residents in an equitable and resident first manner. 

Our goal with sharing the collaborators’ and partners’ learnings from this process is to support those who may be seeking resources to develop or optimize neighborhood planning processes in their own ecosystems.


The Playbook offers highlights from the process, what we learned, resources, and practice exercises to help you see where you are and where you might want to go on the journey toward resident-led neighborhood planning. 

It offers principles and prompts for action designed to help residents and stakeholders build solidarity around their vision and what they are willing to create.

The principles or topics will connect to each other, emphasizing how to steward relationships, improve skills, open up to the community, set structures for the work, and then sustain the work when it gets tough in planning through action. 


Depending on which version of The Playbook you’re using, your experience will differ. Use the table below to help you decide which version may be best for you based on your group’s learning style needs, technological access, etc.



  • Navigate 7 interactive web pages online including the “Playbook Manual” with background and instructions for using the playbook.
  • Listen to audio and video content directly.
  • Download templates, checklists, and sample documents


Download, Share, Print

  • Use as presentation slides.
  • Access links to resources, video, and audio content.
  • Download templates, checklists, and sample documents

playbook set

card deck mockup

Physical Box Set*

  • Playbook manual booklet
  • 25 Topical cards
  • Erasable surface and erasable marker for note taking, sketching, etc.
  • Protective box

*The box set is currently in a prototype phase. Sign up to join the waitlist. Expect full release by fall 2024

Interested in having Invest STL guide you through a session about using the playbook with your organization or neighborhood collective? Please complete the form that is linked below to express your interest in scheduling a session. An Invest STL team member will contact you in 5 – 7 business days to follow up.


Flowers on flowers are in order for those who have been key players in contributing to the creation, design, and future implementation processes of The Resident-Led Neighborhood Planning Playbook.
From the weCollab residents of West End and Visitation Park, to Invest STL teammate’s, our partners, design consultants, and external reviewers, Invest STL cannot thank you enough for your support in bringing this resource into being.  

Residents of the weCollab planning process

Consultants: Designs by Monie, For the When

Partners: Whitney Benns LLC, Emerging Wisdom, Yard & Company

Community Reviewers

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people | power | place | systems

Initiating a 20 Year Journey

Every St. Louis neighborhood is a chosen place to live, raise children, and grow old.





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St. Louis, MO 63130