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Eclectic Pedestrian

Cemeteries and Land Use

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This post originally appeared on my blog about cemeteries and land use, titled Whistling Past The Graveyard, at [url]http://taphofiles.blogspot.com/[/url]
(Please note: This is the new address of my cemetery blog)
[SIZE="6"]W[/SIZE] here do we go when we die, I once asked a room full of planning experts.
Their response was as quiet as a cemetery. I think they thought I was a bit of a loon, who had slipped into their midst.
In reality, I simply was a budding GIS student, coming off my first class in the subject: Land Use, at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. For my research project, I discovered that while cemeteries might be one of the most common land uses in a community, they are definitely under the radar when it comes to planning, smart growth, development and other related fields.
I didn't leave them squirming in their seats for long -- I basically told them what I just told you: that cemeteries are not much talked about in planning circles.
Cemeteries, in fact, are very much a part of the community fabric in many ways:
> They often take up prime real estate, and many are tax-exempt, which makes it tougher on ratable-starved towns.
> Without proper care, they can fall into disrepair and become havens of neglect and criminal activity, which costs countless hours for caretakers, community organizers and law enforcement.
> In some urban areas, they can be the only green spaces on the landscape.
> Older cemeteries can be potentially hazardous to your health -- arsenic was once the embalming substance of choice, and there are stories that some archeologists wear hazmat suits for their work.
> Some of the newest are returning to the oldest ways, via the natural burial movement.
> Cemeteries, particularly the expansive, landscaped ones, can be havens for myriad forms of wildlife.
> In many communities, cemeteries hold an important place in the historic, tourism and cultural landscapes.
In short, they are essential. We, um, can't live without them.
In the last 18 months or so, I've read and gathered a number of articles and links about cemeteries. As this blog gets up and running, I will add some of the best to this site, as well as offer new reports.
My goal is to offer both original content and the best of cemetery reporting from around the world. If I'm capable, I'd like to expand this to offer calendar items and other news of interest to my fellow taphophiles.
So enjoy.


  1. Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY's avatar
    I greatly enjoyed reading your blog. This NY Times article is almost two years old, but I thought you would want to read about Colma, CA and perhaps post more recent articles on that 'necropolis' in your blog.

  2. Richmond Jake's avatar
    Some great quotes there.

    “We have 1,500 aboveground residents,” Mayor Helen Fisicaro said, “and 1.5 million underground.”

    "It's great to be alive in Colma."

    When you drive the 280 you pass a very large (national?) cemetery. Always lots of flags there on Memorial and Veterans days. It always kinda freaked me out.
  3. Shellac And Vinyl VelocitY's avatar
    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake
    When you drive the 280 you pass a very large (national?) cemetery. Always lots of flags there on Memorial and Veterans days. It always kinda freaked me out.
    I lived near SF in the '80s, and I hear you loud and clear. What's worse... now my friends in the Bay Area see *quite a few* more flags there during those holidays...