NPR, November 19, 2019: Is Redeveloping Religious Spaces A Solution To DC’s Housing Crisis?
As Amazon carves out a new home in Arlington, the county is continuing its search for new solutions to a growing problem: the shortage of affordable housing. One possible answer? Redeveloping underused religious spaces.
“Land is one of the prime cost factors in housing,” said Judith Meany, a clinical associate professor in architecture and planning at Catholic University. “And it’s not one that many people understand is frankly driving the housing affordability crisis.”
As the county considers feasible ways to create more affordable units, underused churches — in part a symptom of an overall decline in attendance at religious institutions — present one possibility in a patchwork of housing solutions, with the added benefit of onsite services.