Reimagining the “Team Four Plan” with an Eye Toward Community Collaboration and Private Capital


When first introduced to St. Louis residents, the Team Four Plan, and its underlying policy of urban triage, shook the city. Reprimanding the Plan for its overt endorsement of strategic neglect and corresponding disparate impact, public and local government officials rejected the Team Four Plan’s targeted approach, identifying the Plan’s policies as mere continuations of the racially restrictive real estate practices endorsed throughout the twentieth century. An analysis of modern St. Louis, however, demonstrates the degree to which the Team Four Plan, while never officially adopted, has been embraced by local municipalities in the form of a modern segregation tool—the Missouri Tax Increment Financing statute. Misused across the region, the legislation, though posited as a mechanism for eradicating blight across the state, has served to effectuate Team Four’s most powerful vision by neglecting truly blighted neighborhoods in favor of commercial and residential development for neighborhoods on the brink of tangible economic success. Upheld by the courts and recent legislation, the Act has enabled municipalities’ mistreatment of low-income and largely African American neighborhoods and provides little hope for future use modifications. As such, this Note proposes the implementation of a blight-focused Social Impact Bond, suggesting that private investment replace public hesitation in dealing with deteriorating regions across the city. By way of initial private investment, local municipalities will be able to target neighborhoods most vulnerable to impending blight and rampant vacancy without fear of political backlash or financial restraints, thereby working with private parties to effect true change in the City of St. Louis.


Team Four Plan, City of St. Louis, Tax Increment Financing, Property law, Urban development



Morgen Seim (Washington University School of Law)



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