design thinking initiatives for a better urban life
Design critics: Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of Ecosistema Urbano
Although mortality is humanity’s common ground, the subject of death has become taboo and the spaces of death are treated with morose reverence that often excludes them from the public realm and society’s consciousness. Cemeteries no longer function as vital urban spaces; they are Terra Mortis, dead land, set aside to memorialize our loss. However, even more disturbing than this underutilized land is the waste generated by postmortem processing. Society’s efforts to produce an illusion of permanence after death has resulted in an industry that defies, consumes and contaminates nature at the cost of public health, environmental security, urban green space and our overall spiritual well being. My project asks if we can transform cemeteries into a common, fertile ground that allows people to understand death as an integral part of life. We will begin the session with a Death Cafe in the tradition of Funeral Celebrants – be ready for Death & Donuts!
-Jennifer Lee Mills