Your LED Strategy Step by Step

This section outlines prominent international LED Strategy Development guides, identifying key features of widely accepted municipal LED strategy. The purpose is not to be comprehensive, rather the purpose is to orientate LED practitioners to navigating their way through the standard processes and identify the basic minimum components of a credible LED Strategy.


The World Bank's “LED: a Primer” has been influential in many parts of the world. The UN Habitat also released a user-friendly manual: "Promoting Local Economic Development through Strategic Planning" that sets out a planning process that fits with policy imperatives such as environmental sustainability. These two form a standard basis for LED Strategy development, and can be adapted to fit local circumstances. The approach to LED as outlined in this section is adapted from both documents.

Key features

Good practice indicates that LED should always be guided by a strategy. Ideally, a LED strategy will form a component of a broader strategic development plan that includes social and environmental components. The LED strategy provides a focus on strengthening the local economy and building local capacity. The timeframe for an LED strategy is typically three to eight years and includes annual implementation plans.

The five step strategic planning process

The World Bank advises that a local economic development strategic planning process typically has five stages:

While these are highlighted as separate stages, in reality, LED strategic planning is a flexible process and one stage often continues in parallel with another according to local needs. If problems are encountered during a particular stage, it may not be as a result of work in that stage but the appropriateness of a previous stage. Previous and subsequent stages may need to be refined or reworked to resolve problems. The strategy is a living document that should be changed as circumstances dictate.