Rest in Peace, But How? - The Future of the Cemeteries - Memorial Stories - QR Code Memorial Plaques

Rest in Peace, But How? - The Future of the Cemeteries

Cemeteries are vital facets of our cities, adapting and evolving as urbanisation progresses. However, for sustainable cities, providing sufficient, suitable land for these resting places becomes a serious challenge as the pace of urbanisation accelerates. This is particularly pertinent when considering the cost implications of burying billions of people, given that 60% of the world's population is urbanised.

The Challenges of Urban Burial

Urbanisation brings its own set of problems such as inadequate and expensive housing, limited green spaces, pollution, and poverty, all compounded by the rapidly increasing rate of urbanisation. Similarly, finding adequate land for cemetery space becomes more challenging as cities grow.

As land becomes more limited and pricier, city burial for the dead has become increasingly common. It necessitates proper management and regulation of existing cemetery use. As a universal and constant need, this service's insufficiency has emerged as a growing problem worldwide.

The rate of urbanisation amplifies the problems that need solving in our cities. With rapidly growing urban populations and limited land for its functions, more space needs to be allocated for cemeteries. This growing need is becoming one of the most urgent problems, especially in larger metropolises.

City administrations globally have had to enter into new searches and develop innovative policies to increase the cemetery area and meet these needs.

Alternative Burial Practices

Various strategies have emerged, including reusing graves, the creation of multi-storey cemeteries (both underground and above-ground), promoting cremation, and even prohibiting burial in crowded cities.

The burial crisis is particularly acute in countries with large Jewish and Muslim populations, who are typically against cremation. If burials continue at the current rate, we will need to allocate an area of 6500 square kilometres as a cemetery by 2050.

This problem has led to discussions of vertical tombs as a solution. These multi-storey buildings, which house coffins on shelves in long corridors, can use space seven times more effectively. Such buildings exist in countries like Israel and Brazil, and new designs are being considered for cities like Oslo, Verona, Mexico City, Mumbai, and Paris.

The future cemetery could take many forms:

  1. Traditional Cemetery: As it currently exists.
  2. Nature Park Cemetery: Integrating burial grounds with native bushland, providing a resource-neutral space open to the public for leisure activities.
  3. Socially Activated Cemetery: Making space available for a range of public uses, such as educational activities and leisure activities like playgrounds and cafes.
  4. Urban High-Rise Cemetery: Centrally located urban buildings, drawing inspiration from multi-storey columbaria in North-East Asia.
  5. Digital Cemetery: The concept of a "technology layer" co-existing with, and potentially replacing, the physical cemetery, where loved ones can share photographs, videos, and stories about the deceased.

Natural Burials

On the other hand, natural burials do not use chemicals to preserve the body, minimize the use of additional products, and attempt to lay the body to rest without negatively affecting the environment. This process includes a simple burial using a biodegradable casket or burial shroud, or nothing at all.

Space Burials

Among the more unconventional ideas you can consider for your ashes is blasting them into the cosmos. Services like Celestis will fly a small, sealed capsule of your remains into space.

Sustainable Cemetery Designs

Innovative design concepts, like the Sylvan Constellation project by Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, propose a network of memorial vessels that transform biomass into light. These vessels are situated throughout a woodland space, providing a fascinating and beautiful design for cemetery and memorial spaces.

Digital Memorials with Memorial Stories

While the future of cemeteries may still be uncertain, one thing is for sure; when you deeply love someone, they live in your heart forever.

Thanks to our online memorial service at Memorial Stories, you can honour your departed loved ones. You can share your own "memorial stories" with them using our digital app. Don't let the fear of death stand in the way of doing what you want to do; create a unique digital "remembrance page" that will be available for generations to come.

Through our unique QR memorial plaques, these digital memorial stories can be accessed anywhere, anytime, bridging the gap between the physical and the digital, the past and the future.

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