Alison Killing: What happens when a city runs out of room for its dead
Alison Killing - Architect
An architect and urban designer, Alison Killing uses journalism, filmmaking and exhibitions to help people better understand the built environment. Full bio
but potentially lucrative
has outperformed the UK property market
with plots for sale to investors,
about 40 percent growth.
is a market with continuous demand.
that really are offering this investment,
to death and dying
and the buildings within them.
I did my first exhibition
uncomfortable to talk about,
to be quite playful,
literally engage with it.
was an interactive map of London
of the real estate in the city
the building or the cemetery --
death and burial are things
important parts of our cities.
die in the UK each year,
will want to be buried.
Western European countries,
has been aware of this for a while,
cemeteries are almost full.
are considered to be occupied forever,
people want to use that same land
reuse those graves after 50 years.
like, four deep,
in the same plot,
of the land that way,
will still have space to bury people
haven't been taken care of
there's no legal obligation
to provide burial space.
by private and religious organizations,
been a for-profit group
the small size of a burial plot
serious money to be made.
and start your own cemetery,
and a load of fields next to it,
a caravan park,
of making a cemetery
the value of their land
to over one million pounds.
of making profit from cemeteries,
of those burial plots
you need to maintain the burial plot --
for the next 50 years.
to make money from cemeteries.
they're run by the council
these people permission,
to build their cemetery.
kind of how this works:
for planning permission first.
office building for a client
and I want to convert it into an office,
to the council for permission.
how it fits in the surroundings.
like what impact is it going to have
that I've built?
like shops to the neighborhood
and the disadvantages
to build a large cemetery.
a few people, like five or six?
permission from anyone!
in the UK around burial,
is about not polluting water courses,
and make your own mini-cemetery,
who does this? Right?
and you have a large estate,
have a mausoleum on it,
a piece of land of a certain size
to start burying people on it.
of your house in the suburbs.
to try this yourself at home?
that have guidance on their website
of burial before you can go ahead --
and put them under the patio.
a record of where the grave is.
for formal requirements.
your neighbors might not like this,
nothing that they can do about it.
still had that profit idea in your mind
you might be able to make,
the value of your house
your house at all after that.
many of our attitudes towards death.
across Europe are probably similar,
have ever talked to anyone
have ever talked about this.
people give ... you know,
to make people uncomfortable
who are taking care of things for us.
and bureaucracy around things
working lives to this issue.
death fits in our cities,
and design and thought
are thinking about it --
About the speaker:Alison Killing - Architect
An architect and urban designer, Alison Killing uses journalism, filmmaking and exhibitions to help people better understand the built environment.
Why you should listen
Alison Killing is an architect and urban designer working to engage people with their built environment, via design of buildings and urban strategies, film making, exhibitions and events. She explores the relationship between death and modern architecture, looking at how cities are rebuilt after disaster.
Recent projects include Death in the City (and its first iteration, Death in Venice, which was shown as an independent event during the opening week of the Venice Architecture Biennale), a touring exhibition about death and modern architecture; work with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies on better rebuilding after disaster and how to integrate relevant urban design tools into humanitarian response; and a study of financial models for arts and community projects temporarily using vacant buildings to help these projects become self-sustaining.
Alison Killing | Speaker | TED.com