Prophets and Profits: Redeveloping Houses of Worship

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Certification Maintenance

CM | 1

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess current problems and opportunities for closed houses of worship in the United States and Canada.
  • Work with immigrant communities and implement inclusive design in projects to reuse and redevelop houses of worship.
  • Recognize the steps needed to tackle house-of-worship reuse and redevelopment projects.


As attitudes toward religion change and congregations decline, houses of worship are closing in rapid numbers. There are religious buildings in every community and many house social services and other amenities in addition to spiritual guidance. Doing nothing will lead to the loss of third spaces, historic buildings, community services, and a sense of place. Center cities, and even suburban neighborhoods, will be populated with empty houses of worship in states of decay and abandonment.

The course considers steps that faith institutions, municipalities, and community organizations can take to embrace failing houses of worship, promote innovative mixed-use, and return them to productive community use. Learn about new zoning code changes, municipal programs that provide faith-based institutions with capacity-building support, and state housing policies that include religious-owned property. Explore innovative, mixed-use/adaptive-reuse case studies of houses of worship that are now productive community assets.