Cemeteries of the Future

Do you want to be buried in a coral reef, a skyscraper or on an artificial island?

(Patrick Ward/Corbis)
smithsonian.com

Most of us don’t like to think about death. But as the global population expands, the question of how to dispose of the deceased becomes more and more pressing. Some 55 million people die every year, and cemeteries are becoming ever more crowded. A growing number of designers and urban planners are tackling this issue with innovative concepts for cemeteries of the future. 

A floating cemetery island

In space-pressed Hong Kong, where cemetery crowding has been a problem for decades, many families keep the ashes of their dead loved ones in columbaria, or buildings and walls with niches for urns. But columbaria still take up space, and local residents often oppose the building of multi-story columbaria in their neighborhoods. That’s the background behind "Floating Eternity," a concept for a floating columbarium “island” developed by Hong Kong design firm Bread Studio. The island would remain offshore in the South China Sea, reachable by ferry, for most of the year, and then dock at the city during annual ancestor worship holidays. 

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