Saturday, November 16, 2013

Sharing a Grave: Urban Cemetery Solutions

I don't know how many times I've heard people say that we're running out of room to bury our dead, so we should all really consider cremation. I might take this seriously from a person who never left a major metropolitan area in their lives, but living as I do in the region know on the coasts as 'Flyover', I know with great certainty that there is enough room to bury everyone in the world in Wisconsin, let alone Nevada or Montana. Anyone who has flown across the country can remember spending hours staring out at countless miles of open land.
Of course this is not what most people would want. We need a place close enough to visit regularly. It needs to be a convenient, serene and attractive place that is appropriate to the spirit and personality of our loved one. Certainly, large areas of open land are not easy to find in heavily populated areas, and in real estate for the living and for the dead, value is dependent upon location.
One of the great benefits of cemeteries is the De facto green spaces and parks that they create after the cities grow around them. If the cemetery hadn't been there, it would just be another neighborhood or strip mall. The reality is though, that when the city grows around the cemetery, there is no room to expand, and solutions must be found.

Here are some ways around the problem. They're not for everybody, but interesting nonetheless. First, via YouTube, an idea to make fuller use of London Cemeteries. It's interesting to keep in mind while you watch this clip, that prior to the introduction of cemeteries in the 1800's, and for a thousand years beforehand, in Europe, burial took place in churchyards (and even inside the churches themselves), and the same graves were used countless times.

Next, here are some photos of cemeteries in overcrowded Hong Kong. When land becomes so valuable and desirable to so many people, we end up living in high rise buildings. In Hong Kong, the dead rest in similar concentrations.

cemetery memorial funeral ideas

cemetery memorial funeral ideas

Finally, can you look at this picture of Nevada and tell me that we've got no room left?

cemetery memorial funeral ideas

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Funeral service faces a crisis of relevance, and I am passionate about keeping the best traditions of service alive while adapting to the changing needs of families. Feel free to contact me with questions, or to share your thoughts on funeral service, ritual, and memorialization.


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