Op-Ed: Let Churches Build Housing

The ‘Yes in God’s Backyard’ movement could get a boost from a proposed bill in the California state legislature.

December 30, 2022 - Los Angeles Times

View of street in Pasadena, California with church at left and city hall in background

‘Yes in God’s Backyard’ Movement Wins in Pasadena

Houses of worship in the California city will be allowed to build housing on their properties in an effort to alleviate the city’s housing shortage.

September 28, 2022 - The Real Deal

UC Berkeley and North Berkeley

Berkeley's Black Churches To Build Affordable Housing

Historically Black churches will use their property to build affordable housing aimed at seniors and other residents being priced out of their neighborhoods.

March 15, 2022 - Berkeleyside

An aerial image of the city of Brookings, Oregon, a small town located on the Pacific Coast.

Lawsuit Challenges Zoning to Limit Church Soup Kitchens

Local residents of Brookings, Oregon say a local church's meal services during the pandemic were attracting crime and vagrancy, so the city passed a zoning ordinance that limited the number of days the church could serve meals to two a week.

February 2, 2022 - Reason

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church in Redding, California at night

Leveraging Church Properties to Build Affordable Housing

As owners of valuable urban real estate, some churches are taking up the mandate to serve their community by using their vacant properties to provide housing for people being priced out of their homes.

June 16, 2021 - Reasons to Be Cheerful

Supreme Court

U.S. Supreme Court Rules on State-Imposed Social Distancing Restrictions

In a 5-4 decision, the court voted to uphold the prohibition of religious services that was part of California Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order. While the restriction had since been loosened, the plaintiff wanted all restrictions removed.

June 1, 2020 - The Washington Post

Santa Monica Bikes

Reopening California: Respected County Health Official Issues Warning

Dr. Sara Cody, the Santa Clara County health officer widely credited for leading the Bay Area into issuing a 6-county shelter-in-place order on March 16, the nation's first, warns that the pace of reopening is too fast.

May 31, 2020 - Los Angeles Times


Religion in the Pandemic: First Amendment vs. Public Health and Safety

Conflicts between church and state are being decided in state and federal courts as governors act to protect their constituents from the coronavirus while religious institutions and their supporters seek exceptions from social gathering restrictions.

May 24, 2020 - The Oregonian

Philadelphia Bike Lane

Conflict in Philadelphia Over Church Parking in Bike Lanes

A long-standing policy allows parking in front of churches and synagogues but leaves cars blocking bike lanes, and cyclists want the practice to end.

October 3, 2019 - The Philadelphia Inquirer


'Yes In God's Backyard' Offers a New Way Forward for Housing Advocates

San Diego housing advocates have coined a new term: "YIGBY," or "Yes in God's Backyard," to advance prospects for affordable housing development on property underutilized by houses of worship. The city's planning department is receptive.

August 7, 2019 - Next City

Narikala Castle

Churches and the Creation Of Landscape

A visit to Tbilisi, Georgia, reveals that churches are crucial elements in the creation of landscape. Their civic functions are at least as important as their theological functions.

November 20, 2017 - Common Edge Collaborative

Haarlem, Ntherlands

Adaptive Brew-Use

The Associated Press explores the trend of churches rebuilt as breweries.

October 10, 2017 - Associated Press via Miami Herald


How Aging Urban Churches Can Be Saved

Churchgoing in Washington, D.C. is on the decline, and neighborhood churches are finding it hard to pay the bills. One solution is to go mixed-use and share space with new development.

May 16, 2017 - Washingtonian

Some Hoping to Build Housing See Churches as an Obstacle

Miami-Dade Commissioner Barbara Jordan has expressed concerns that seldom-used churches aren’t paying taxes, take up valuable land, and would be better used to build housing for the Black community.

April 22, 2017 - Miami Herald

New Jersey Town Rejects Mosque, Claims Zoning Issues

Bayonne, New Jersey doesn't currently have a mosque, after a heated six-hour zoning meeting officials have rejected an application to build one.

March 10, 2017 - WNYC


Cities Lose Supreme Court Case on Sign Regulation

The Supreme Court, in two separate opinions, unanimously ruled on June 18 against an Arizona town's sign regulation that denied the placement of a street sign based on its content. At question was a sign directing passers-by to a church service.

June 26, 2015 - The Washington Post

Urban Churches Adapt to a Changing City

In Washington, D.C., residents, shops and restaurants come and go, often moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. But churches remain. They anchor the community as it changes, and often find themselves changing with it.

November 18, 2014 - Elevation DC

Calgary Church

The Faith-Based Gap in the Institutional Landscape of Cities

By focusing on their common interest in working toward the public good, the gap between faith-based institutions and the planning processes of their communities can be bridged.

October 2, 2014 - Milton Friesen

Walk, Bike, Transit Advocates Lose Sunday Parking Vote

Despite a grassroots campaign to retain Sunday parking meter charges it only approved two years ago, the San Francisco MTA agreed with Mayor Ed Lee to drop the charges, hoping that voters would approve two transit funding measures in November.

April 17, 2014 - Streetsblog San Francisco

Church Parking a Key Campaign Talking Point in D.C.

D.C. mayoral candidates are making big promises about easing parking restrictions on Sunday in response to reports that churches are fleeing the capital for locations in Maryland due to difficulties with parking.

February 20, 2014 - Washington City Paper

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