Abstract

The environmental and social imperatives of twenty-first century cities require a rethinking of mortuary practices. Cemeteries across the globe are nearing capacity, and the number of deaths annually in the United States is increasing as the post-World War II generation ages. Despite their depletive and harmful environmental effects, casketed burial, cremation, and embalming have informed perceptions and policies, truncating access to alternatives. Although today's increasingly secular urban populations, for whom the health of the planet is paramount, are disconnected from “traditional” funerary rites, the importance of transitional mortal ritual endures. Through two design projects—one in an existing Victorian cemetery in Bristol, England, and the other augmenting iconic public infrastructure in New York City—this article argues for the potential of new disposition methods and enhanced public space. Countering the conventional dissociation of cemeteries from daily life, these new spaces of remembrance connect with the vitality of the city to promote intergenerational associations to family, culture, and environmental stewardship.

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