From May 2016 to January 2017, NYQM Friends embarked an a process to consider our future as Friends and how it can best be supported by our facilities. This discernment was prompted in part by our separate incorporation from Friends Seminary, which committed us to a higher standard of stewardship in our Manhattan buildings and also created a new clarity about what spaces would be available for future Friends’ use—but Friends working on the separate incorporation thought it would be a welcome opportunity for the whole community to reflect on these questions more broadly in a way that might inform our decisions going forward.
The Trustees worked with the firm Urban Projects Collaborative (UPC), founded by Sarah Haga. UPC was joined by the engineering firm the Stone House Group and the Architecture Research Office to develop this project. The UPC process was overseen by an Organizing Committee convened by NYQM Trustees, who invited representatives from the two Property Committees and NYQM Audit and Budget.
This process resulted in three reports, which are linked below. (1) An Overall Vision Plan, which summarized the work that UPC team did with us to identify our needs as a community; (2) a Strategic Master Plan, that identified some approaches to our physical spaces that might meet some of these needs; and (3) the Implementation Plan, that offers an approach to moving toward these goals. The UPC Team accompanied the Implementation Plan with recommended schemes for the two Meetinghouses, including a provisional scheme for the Central Building spaces at 15th Street that will be turned over to the QM in 2019. The recommended schemes respond to the community’s comments on the schemes that the team proposed in the Strategic Master Plan. This refining process was meant to demonstrate how the principals of the Overall Vision Plan can be used in practical capital planning. All these plans are recommendations, for our discernment going forward.
The final report was received by the January, 2017, Quarterly Meeting of the NYQM. Currently, the Trustees and the two Property Committees are discerning around the reports, to try to develop a proposal for a way forward drawing on the insights of this process.
Monthly Meeting Committees, Quarterly Meeting Committees, and Monthly Meetings are invited to conduct their own discernments as led and communicate their findings to Trustees and the Property Committees. (Broadly, Property Committees are discerning on recommendations for individual property decisions in the Monthly Meetings, and Trustees are discerning on an overall plan for capital development and its governance implications.) Committees are particularly invited to discern on the specific space needs that answer to their charge and how these are met by UPC’s suggested plans.
Friends working on this project hope that as discernment moves forward it will not only address some of our lingering needs for stronger, more coordinated stewardship of our buildings, but also how Friends’ witness and practice can best be served by our physical presence in New York City. The work of the planning process is only a recommendation, and it falls to us to discern how best to nurture our community in the Light of the Living Truth.
on behalf of the Organizing Committee for the NYQM Capital Planning Process