Planning theorists have neglected the role of leadership in planning. A consequence is that planning scholarship is missing opportunities to advance the influence of planning in creating more just and more inclusive cities. This paper argues that place-based leadership should be given much more attention by scholars who want to understand, and advise on, how to bring about progressive change in cities. The paper, which outlines some of the arguments set out in a forthcoming book on Leading the Inclusive City (to be published by The Policy Press, University of Bristol), suggests that much of the literature on sustainable development and urban resilience is failing to get to grips with the distributional consequences of current approaches to city planning and urban management. In the book the author presents seventeen inspiring Innovation Stories, drawn from cities in all continents, to underpin the argument that place-based civic leadership, when combined with radical social innovation, can help to create inclusive, sustainable cities. The paper draws on the evidence presented in the book to suggest that there are likely to be five overlapping realms of civic leadership in any given locality – political, managerial/professional, community, business and trade union. A new conceptual framework – The New Civic Leadership – is presented and it is suggested that effective place-based leadership often draws insight and energy from all five realms. The paper explains the methodology used to co-create the Innovation Stories about bold civic leadership. It is hoped that the paper will encourage scholars concerned with planning and sustainable development to explore theories relating to leadership and public innovation.