Mission to build: Converging and competing interests over church property redevelopment in Vancouver, BC

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Author: Guay, Audrey
This study explores the converging and competing interests of real estate, urban planning, and congregational interests over church property redevelopment in Vancouver, BC. Using multiple methodologies including historical analysis, document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and a case study, this project provides an analysis of twenty-four church redevelopment projects proposed in Vancouver between 2005 and 2020. While these projects are generally described as “win-win-win”, the purpose of this study is to evaluate this claim of shared benefit. Key findings reveal a trend towards the privatization of community-serving space through a net transfer of land to market residential developments. The market driven approach adopted by most of these projects stand in contrast to values of housing affordability and community benefit articulated by interview participants, raising questions about how congregations can better protect their missional interests through redevelopment. A case study of the Co:Here housing project by Grandview Church provides insight into how mission-driven, non-market church redevelopments might differ from dominant models of church-developer partnerships.
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