Metropolis 2023 Planet Positive Awards Tabernacle Terrace

Tabernacle Terrace: Leveraging Black Churches to Build Beloved Community

Students: Bryce Boho, William Flanagan, Lu He, Alicia Jacobs, Facundo Jaime, Jacob Schmitz

Faculty: Donald King, Brice Maryman, Richard Mohler, Jess Zimbabwe

The University of Washington

Seattle’s Central District, a long-standing African-American community, is facing strong gentrification and displacement pressures. As a result, Black churches face difficult decisions about whether to stay in the district or relocate. In response, as part of the Nehemiah Initiative—a collaboration between church leadership, academic institutions, city departments, and affordable housing advocates—students from the University of Washington developed Tabernacle Terrace, a proposal for the Central District that leverages the churches’ property and assets to mitigate the ongoing gentrification and displacement through strategic urban design and real estate development. By adding sustainably built affordable housing and public spaces, the initiative can support black homeownership and small-business opportunities. At the same time, the plans maximize green stormwater infrastructure and on-site energy production while leveraging off-site prefabrication, including volumetric modular and mass timber construction, to reduce embodied carbon and costs. 

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