Cemeteries: Planning for the Dispoal of the Dead Essay

Cemeteries: Planning for the Dispoal of the Dead Essay

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If there is one thing we know for sure is that no one can avoid death. The sensitivity of this issue has always been heavily influenced by religion, culture and economics, but little input from government. However with the dramatic increase from not only the aging of the baby boomer generation, in the near future there will be a higher demand for cemetery space and planners will have to step in to come up with resolutions and alternatives (Prothero, 2001). Historically in the United States, burial has been the most common way of disposing of the dead. By 1960’s some other forms of disposing of the dead have become more common (Rugg, 2000). Although, cremation rates are rising, burials are projected to remain the preferred method of disposal, and urban space for cemeteries is limited for many communities. The traditional sprawling, park-like burial ground in past centuries will need to adapted to accommodate the demand for the coming dead (Harris, 2007).


Since dealing with human remains is regulated by religion and culture, the lack of government involvement has created a gap in details and coordination of information about how and where Americans are disposed of after death. Although, death and burial is an important subject for planners, (American Society of Planning Officials, 1950) the problems and issues are not largely addressed in planning and education literature (Price, 1966). Currently most city planners are managing cemeteries under the city parks and open space policies and usually cemeteries are not included in most comprehensive plans.
The planning dilemmas with cemeteries are that they are privately owned, but occupy substantial community space. Unlike most land use burial grounds are fairly perma...

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...ick, J. (2012, April 19). Dogs, Dearly Departed Co-Exist At Congressional Cemetery . The Huffington Post, DC. (A. Huffington, Ed.) Washington D.C.
Frey, W. (2007). Mapping the growth of older American: Seniors and boomer in the early 21st century. The Brookings Institution. Washington, DC: Living Cities Census Series.
Green Burial Council. (n.d.). Santa Fe, NM . Retrieved from Green Burial Council.
Harris, M. (2007). Graves matters: a jounrney through the modern funeral industry to a natural way of burial. New York, NY: Scribner.
Price, L. W. (1966). Some results and implications of a cemetery study. Professional Geographer, 18(4), 201-207.
Prothero, S. (2001). Purifies by fire: A history of cremation in America. Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.
Rugg, J. (2000). Defining the place of burial: What makes a cemetery a cemetery? Mortality, 5(3), 257-275.

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