Religion

Supreme Court Statue

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds New York State Vaccine Mandate

Health care workers in New York will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to reject hearing an appeal brought by workers who had sought a religious exemption. Also, an update on the federal vaccine mandate.

December 20, 2021 - The New York Times

Supreme Court Statue

SCOTUS: Freedom of Religion Trumps Public Health in a Pandemic

In a late-night 5-4 ruling on the eve of Thanksgiving, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a governor's executive order to stem the spread of a contagious virus can not impede the right of people to gather in a church.

November 29, 2020 - SCOTUS Blog

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

Coronavirus

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

Church

'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

Mosque

Denied Mosque Rezoning Violated Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act

The city of Des Plaines, Illinois has entered into a consent decree with the Justice Department to ensure it acts in accordance with the law regarding future zoning requests from religious institutions.

June 19, 2017 - Chicago Tribune

United Kingdom

U.K.'s New Urban Churches Promote ‘Renewal’

Progressive churches are attracting "younger, trendier demographics" to U.K. city centers.

April 3, 2017 - The Guardian

God Rides BART

Colorado Springs Transit Agency in Hot Water for Censoring Religious Advertisements

This might be a cautionary tale for some other transit agencies out there.

July 2, 2016 - The Gazette

Mecca Builds Up, at the Cost of Its Historic Heritage

A unique blend of religious beliefs, state policies and capitalist interests are reshaping Mecca for the worse, critics argue, at the expense of its most prized cultural assets.

October 27, 2012 - The Guardian

A Chicago Church Stands on "Ceremony" to Skirt Preservation Designation

The tussle over the historic designation of a property owned by a Chicago church exposes the conflicting agendas of politics, property rights, preservation, and constitutional law.

September 2, 2012 - Gapers Block

Repel or Repair: How Urban Design Plays a Part in Culture Wars

Dr. Ralf Brand and Dr. Sara Fregonese have studied how culturally ignorant design has intensified violence in areas of religious and ethnic division, while more sensitive plans have peacefully brought people from different backgrounds together.

June 14, 2012 - The Atlantic Cities

Facing Crises in Urban Life, Nigeria Keeps On Growing

Unlike Asia and South America, sub-Saharan Africa did not see birthrates fall in the second half of the 20th century. As a result, urban life in Nigeria heralds the challenges facing an increasingly populous planet, Elisabeth Rosenthal reports.

April 18, 2012 - The New York Times

Why Not a Temple to Atheism?

According to Alain de Botton, religion shouldn't get to claim the most beautiful buildings, so he proposes a temple for anything else "positive and good," right in the center of London.

February 2, 2012 - Fast Company

Religious Theme Park Causes Debate Over State Support

Governmental support for plans for a religious theme park in Kentucky featuring a replica of Noah's Ark have spurred protests.

March 11, 2011 - NPR

Shrinking Cities Means Shuttered Churches

The Archdiocese of Detroit is working with city planners and local demographers as they develop their plans for Catholic parish closures.

December 22, 2010 - The Detroit News

RLUIPA Ripeness Rule Reinforced

The concept of ripeness in several realms is elusive. I have never figured out how to properly thump a melon at a grocery store, although I have made a thorough study of it. You might want to click here, or here, or here for some guidance, none of which seems to work when it’s just me in a stare down with a cold, stone faced and silent honeydew. Just yesterday one of my younger children from what we call the “second litter” asked me at dinner how I could tell if a coconut was ripe. I paused, realized that I had no answer, and did what every good parent should do and asked instead why they weren’t eating their salad. Yes, attack and divert. You think melons and coconuts are tough — try ripeness in land use litigation.

July 28, 2009 - Dwight Merriam

What Happens When an Irresistible Force Meets an Immovable Object

The unstoppable force paradox is an exercise in logic that seems to come up in the law all too often. There is a Chinese variant. The Chinese word for “paradox” is literally translated as “spear-shield” coming from a story in a Third Century B.C. philosophy book, Han Fiez, about a man selling a sword he claimed could pierce any shield. He also was trying to sell a shield, which he said could resist any sword. He was asked the obvious question and could give no answer. The Washington Supreme Court broke the paradox between a 12-month moratorium during which the City of Woodinville considered sustainable development regulations for its R-1 residential area, and the efforts by the Northshore United Church of Christ (Northshore Church) to host a movable encampment for homeless people on its R-1 property. City of Woodinville v. Northshore United Church of Christ (July 16, 2009).

July 21, 2009 - Dwight Merriam

Land Use and Religion Collide in CO

After a church in Denver was denied permission to expand its facilities, they filed a lawsuit against Boulder County on charges of discrimination. This month, the case reached a federal courtroom.

November 19, 2008 - Los Angeles Times

Controversial Public Art Piece Given the Boot

Vancouverites send a sculpture packing, stirring up a debate over the role of public art.

June 13, 2008 - The Canadian Press

Top Books

An annual review of books related to planning.

Top Websites

The best of the Internet—since 2002.

Top Apps

Planning apps for a brave new world.

Top Schools

The definitive ranking of graduate planning programs.

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.