“Philosophical Park”: Cemeteries in the Scandinavian Urban Context

(Not) My Green City?


Cemeteries in densifying cities are undergoing a shift into spaces used both for the dead and by the living; this in turn calls for a more nuanced approach to planning. Using Oslo and Copenhagen as cases, this paper explores why both cities recently developed strategies for cemetery planning and management. In analyses of the written policy strategies and interviews with ten experts working with the cemeteries, we observe that both municipalities share many reasons, including a growing demand for green urban spaces, cemeteries’ recreational potential and increasing diversity of burial practices and memorial forms. The policymakers and practitioners in both cities recognise the spiritual or “philosophical” aspects of the cemeteries, which distinguish them from other green spaces and direct attention to a need for a specific management strategy. Our findings contribute to a more nuanced understanding of cemeteries as a special type of green space and can hopefully inspire practitioners in other densifying cities.

Klíčová slova:
graveyards; densification; green space; planning; spirituality; Oslo; Copenhagen

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