Bricks and Mortals, partnered with students from the Spring 2021 Hunter College Urban Policy and Planning Studio Team, guided by Professor Laura Wolf-Powers to produce a Faith in Place: A Study and Analysis of Faith-Based Organizations and Real Estate in New York City. The report highlights NYC neighborhood FBOs in transition and created a Stressor Index that quantifies the financial health of congregations by aggregating information on tax liens, building violations, risk of gentrification, and whether the building is landmarked or in a landmarked neighborhood.
Building on available public data on houses of faith from NYC Departments of Building, City Planning, and Finance, the Hunter Studio class explored the role of FBOs as community actors anchoring vulnerable populations during disasters, food security, etc. FBOs continue to support communities while experiencing shrinking congregations, real estate pressures, and mounting upkeep expenses.
Hunter students explored various development scenarios, offering housing of faith alternatives to new construction that might also provide sources of funding for operations and maintenance costs. Check out their report here.