#2 Death and the City

We live in a time of rapid urbanisation. As our cities expand and our societies merge, the urban condition suffers from a profound marginalisation of dying and death. Over time, the location, treatment, traditions and rituals of death have dramatically changed. The agents and actors (diseases, accidents, hospitals) as well as the physical loci (grave or urn) have become disconnected from the urban tissue. How does the removal of death reshape our cities? Celebratory practices of mourning are often found in small communities or cultures which have upheld ancient traditions: in Mexico they honour their deceased in style on the Diá de Muertos, while The San Cataldo cemetery by Aldo Rossi in Modena carefully shapes the stages of mourning as a true memorial site. Memento mori was once an important reminder of death in life. Nowadays, our desire to prolong life and neglect death seems much more vivid. As a result, urban spaces expand for the living, but room for the dead becomes more and more limited. Why do contemporary cities lack occupied space to mourn the dead? And, as traditions and places of death are always time and site-specific, how can we find new approaches that challenge the ongoing dialogue between death and the city?

#2 Death and the City

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