Planning for the Deceased

PAS Report 572

By Christopher Coutts, Carlton Basmajian, Dwight Merriam, FAICP, Patricia Salkin

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Can better cemeteries make better communities? As the baby boom generation ages, demand for interment is inevitably rising. The way planners respond will have lasting impact on cities and towns.

This sensible yet sensitive guide addresses questions planners everywhere are facing. What happens to cemeteries that have run out of room? Who cares for abandoned burial grounds? The authors look at public health implications, private versus public interests, planning and zoning concerns, and the complex web of state and federal oversight. The discussion also explores emerging alternatives to traditional interment, from cremation to burial at sea.

Case studies show the range of creative approaches cities have adopted, from New Orleans's above-ground tombs to London's Necropolis railway to densely populated Hong Kong's tradition of cremation. Planners and public officials across the country will find this report a valuable resource as they plan for the ultimate future of their communities' residents.

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Page Count
Date Published
April 1, 2013
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: The Need to Plan for the Deceased

Chapter 2: The Death Care Industry
Current National Trends
State and Federal Oversight
Cemetery Ownership and Location
Crematorium Ownership and Location
Funeral Home Ownership and Location

Chapter 3: Planning and Regulating Cemeteries
Inventorying Capacity
Visioning and Goal Setting
Categorizing Use: Standards, Policies, and Incentives
Zoning and Land Use
Cemetery Solvency

Chapter 4: Alternative Methods to Reduce the Deathprint of the Deceased
Addressing Cemetery Land Consumption Through Density
Sustainable Alternatives to Traditional Embalmed Burial

Chapter 5: Case Studies
Needham Cemetery, Needham, Massachusetts
Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York
Hong Kong