The Role of Residents in Building a Future for Neighborhoods

The role of neighborhood residents in building a community-driven future for neighborhoods

Guest blog by Rick Bonasch – Director of Technical Assistance for Rise

Many people wonder if they have much impact on the future direction of their communities. In St. Louis, the answer is a definite “yes”. However to be able to realize that future, residents need to be engaged, work together, build shared vision, work with community leadership, and offer a supportive voice for the changes it wants to see.

First, residents need to get to know each other and learn about shared interests and goals.  If there’s not an active neighborhood organization in existence, then consider starting one or re-energizing an inactive group with new members.

Next, review what is currently planned or proposed for your community, with an eye on long term priorities.  Do those goals still make sense for what the community needs today?  What sorts of other goals do residents have for their area?  Engage local leaders in the discussion with the intent to gain information and understanding and to learn how to influence positive growth and change.  You can be sure there’s a lot of history you’ll be tying in with that will have a role in guiding future efforts.  Build on that background. Explore ways to leverage neighborhood history and previous planning and development efforts toward accomplishing important priorities today.

Where possible, create coalitions and neighborhood committees to create an organized structure to maintain long term focus on neighborhood priorities.   Organized residents help create strong neighborhood leadership.  Strong leadership is necessary to accomplish community goals.  Residents, working together with community leaders, is the best way to accomplish desired goals.

Through community organizing, capacity building, neighborhood planning, organizational strategic planning, and other community development services, Rise helps neighborhood residents and  community based organizations build the capacity to drive neighborhood revitalization.


For more information regarding Rise’s capacity building services, please call Rick Bonasch, Director of Technical Assistance, 314-333-7007.