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Ecclesiastical Land Planning

His Holiness Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ invites us to contemplate the earth as a resplendent illustration of God’s infinite creativity and love, and a gift which we must tend to with care. He discusses the grave consequences that not caring for our common home have in a world where life’s most basic functions and needs are integrally interconnected. We have an urgent mandate to care for our common home and regenerate places and ecosystem functions that humanity has destroyed.


GoodLands is founded on the belief that the way we use our properties has a moral dimension. Well coordinated land-use and land-management strategies foster a clean environment, promote public health, address social justice concerns, add beauty to the world, support life in its many species, and allow us to glorify God through our care for Creation. Well planned buildings help current programs thrive, and can support urgent community development programs, housing, and be sources of fiscal sustainability for communities.

GoodLands works with dioceses, religious orders, foundations, large-scale institutional landholders, and other Catholic decision-makers to increase their understanding of their landholdings and to facilitate informed planning of their landholdings so that they may be leveraged as a powerful force for positive environmental and social change, while helping them meet their own community's needs.


GoodLands Research studies how ecclesiastical lands are currently affecting and could positively impact ecosystems, health, habitat, and communities. Our research is supported by partnerships with major technology companies, student work with top research institutes (such as Yale's Forestry and Environmental Science School), and a network of contributing experts. We made history as the first organization to make a global map of all ecclesiastical jurisdictions tied in with decades of demographic and property data about the Church. We have mapped tens of thousands of Catholic-affiliate properties within the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops and

information about them, and we are working with our Spatial Data Infrastructure partners to develop a dynamic map of Catholic property around the world. We combine our geospatial database of Catholic information with environmental and social information that is linked to geographies that help us to understand the environmental, social, and economic contexts of each property.


Pope Francis states, “In the face of possible risks to the environment which may affect the common good now and in the future, decisions must be made based on a comparison of the risks and benefits foreseen for the various possible alternatives. This is especially the case when a project may lead to a greater use of natural resources… or significant changes to the landscape, the habitats of protected species or public spaces” (Laudato Si’, par. 184). A strong foundation in scientific analyses lays the foundation for our holistic land-use planning and reduces the risk of environmental destruction and social conflict from poor land-use decision making.

Get involved

"Then the LORD God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it." Gen 2:15


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Services: Planning

GoodLands provides planning information, insights and services to organizations and individuals. We equip our clients to lead in the implementation of Laudato Si' through regenerative property solutions by providing a comprehensive understanding of their property and its potential for good.


GoodLands approach is redefining the future of land-use planning by providing cloud-based information products that give your organization clear direction, help keep stakeholders accountable, track implementation, and adjust plans over time for maximum positive impact. Our use of a cloud-based system makes land-based real estate and finance planning, and environmental and social stewardship strategies easy to comprehend, manage, and track at every scale for stakeholders involved with a plan and its implementation.

Comprehensive Master Planning


Environmental Master Planning


Social Impact Planning


Tax Risk Assessment


Climate Change Risk Assessment


Regenerative Real Estate


Carbon Credit Strategy


Land-Use Negotiations


Conservation Planning


Ecosystems Service Evaluations


Clean Energy Master Planning


Food Security Planning

Please mouse over services to learn more. If you would like to speak with a GoodLands representative please fill out our client inquiry form.

To Learn more, please visit our Planning Services page.

Site-Scale Evaluation + Design

Interested in learning more about your property and discovering how to use it for good?

Ecological Report


We create a report that provides logical and social context and describes the conditions of your property. The resolution of the data and your goals will determine the final content, costs, and detail of the report. Each report will highlight key features of your property, including (but not limited to) formally designated and potentially ecologically sensitive areas, surface hydrology, geology, disturbance risks, vegetation patterns, soil types, and alternative energy potentials.




Click to see highlights from a

site-scale ecological strategy

Ecological Strategy


We assess the ecological and social context of your property and provide suggestions for how you might use your land and buildings to care for creation and serve the poor. We also provide an Opportunities Map and Action Plan with next steps to guide you in the implementation of these strategies, such as simple management changes and a list of organizations that can help with further implementation.



Click to see sample ecological design

Ecological Design


We work with you to understand your community's goals and needs and to co-create designs that will assist you in your efforts to live your mission, strengthen your community, and reach your programmatic goals more effectively. Ecological design leverages the natural systems and infrastructure in and around your property to develop a sustainable plan for its future. We provide budgeted implementation schedules and detailed planting and management plans aligned with your resources and programs and offer participatory site analysis and community design sessions.



*costs depend on the level of detail of analysis and design, the size of the site, project complexity and the amount of community involvement in the design process.


While our site-scale evaluations are invaluable for helping communities implement ecological plans and leverage the potential of their properties, our reports are not a replacement for property surveys, construction documents, on-site wildlife inventories, and the development of master plans and engineering projects -- although they can serve as guides for when and where these tasks should be pursued.


On special request we offer parcel-scale master planning and management plan development with the condition that a community makes a commitment to work with us and takes responsibility for project costs. If your community is interested in a master plan but cannot afford one at this time, we offer a pre-planning fundraising package for $500. You must provide at least one representative who can contribute 20 hours of their time to a pre-planning co-grant writing process with GoodLands staff. Unfortunately, we will not be able to move forward with a master planning project unless there is sufficient support.


For research centers, faith-based organizations, and NGOs, we offer a collaborative fundraising service. We will work with your organization to seek additional financial support needed to cover the costs of a planning project. Time commitments, additional overhead and conditions must be clearly defined for both parties during an initial assessment session.


If you are a foundation interested in establishing a funding partnership with GoodLands please contact Molly at

Stay Connected


+1 203.903.4754

760 Chapel St.

New Haven, CT 06510 USA


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GoodLands is a fiscally sponsored nonprofit. Donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law. 7% of all donations for GoodLands up to $50,000 are contributed to our fiscal sponsors at Community Solutions.


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