In an effort to facilitate more equity in the development of St. Louis neighborhoods, a coalition of organizations has launched a new online toolbox to connect St. Louis residents with resources that provide vital community development knowledge. Facilitated by Invest STL, the Neighborhood Toolbox launched with two initial tools — the St. Louis Community LAB and the St. Louis Neighborhood Organization Map. Each is designed to help residents build the capacity needed to advance community development in their neighborhoods.
“We are a community rich with individuals committed to shaping a bold, thriving St. Louis to the benefit of all,” said Dara Eskridge, executive director, Invest STL. “The resources available in the growing online toolbox seek to lift up and leverage the skills and connections of even more neighborhood leaders in organizing and aligning their actions towards a just, powerful future.”
The St. Louis Community LAB(Learn, Act, Build) aggregates workshops offered by various entities for residents interested in learning more about economic development, local governance, nonprofit governance, neighborhood leadership, and related community development topics.
“Our aim is to support residents in their journey to build the communities they envision for themselves,” said Tasnim Haq, MSW, program support coordinator, Community Innovation and Action Center (UMSL). “The St. Louis Community LAB is a one-stop-shop of training resources residents can tap to take an active and informed role in shaping the future of their neighborhoods.”
Complementing the information in the LAB, the St. Louis Neighborhood Organization Map, developed through the efforts of several groups, depicts neighborhood associations, community development corporations, and community building organizations with specific footprints in the St. Louis metro area and helps organizations and residents connect with one another.
“The map boosts our city’s community development ecosystem by helping neighborhood residents work collectively to impact decisions affecting their neighborhoods,” said Dana Malkus, director of the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic at Saint Louis University School of Law and a member of the St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative. “At the same time, it makes it easier for residents, developers, the city, and the business and philanthropic sectors to work together to achieve shared goals.”
The Neighborhood Toolbox, the St. Louis Neighborhood Organization Map, and St. Louis Community LABcan be found at http://investstl.org/neighborhood-toolbox/. The dates of the three live Digital Walkthroughs are also included at which a facilitator will provide an in depth presentation of tools and also answer any questions.
In addition to Invest STL, St. Louis University School of Law, St. Louis Vacancy Collaborative, and two University of Missouri St. Louis organizations – Creating Whole Communities and the Community Innovation and Action Center, other supporting organizations include:
|· Urban Land Institute, St Louis||· University of Missouri Extension|
|· St. Louis Economic Development Partnership||· Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis|
|· City of St. Louis Planning Urban Design Agency||· WEPOWER|
|· Thread STL||· Community Engagement Action Group|
|· STL Regional Data Alliance|