Designing an Action Book for Religious Facilities
The Manhattan Borough President’s Office works on many initiatives important to maintaining and improving the quality of life in Manhattan. As land values rise and memberships decline, many religious congregations throughout NYC struggle to maintain aging but essential properties. To support the community presence of active religious facilities, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer convened a Religious Facilities Task Force comprising faith leaders and adjacent experts, and enlisted the Capstone team to design and deliver a comprehensive guidebook to help religious leaders explore productive ways to preserve, share, repurpose, and/or redevelop their buildings. The team observed public hearings and joined meetings of the task force. In addition, the team conducted independent research and stakeholder outreach to identify neighborhood and citywide trends, needs, and opportunities. The final action book is a user-friendly tool that offers stakeholders a process to understand their properties, identify goals, align mission and outcomes, and navigate common pathways to maximize or transform their spaces and community impact.