Pavel Grabalov has been at NMBU for the last four years Search On how urban burial plots are used in Scandinavia and Russia.
It all started when he noticed a cemetery in Copenhagen.
– I was surprised how different it looked compared to my own experience from Russia, he told NRK.
Grabalov believes that burial groves will be used differently in the future – especially in cities with little available green space.
Are Norwegians ready to set up recreational facilities and activities in our cemeteries?
– Yes, I totally think so. The cemetery is already used for many other things, says Tom Sully, the church warden of the Bodo Church Council.
Another study shows Only 5 percent of those who visit the old town cemetery in Oslo use it to visit graves.
Do you use cemeteries other than visiting cemeteries?
The cemetery will become a green lane
Planning for the new district of Bodø began in earnest when the municipality of Forsvarsberg, Avinor and Bodø signed an agreement in 2018.
NRK meets with Sheriff Solli and District Planner in Bodø Municipality Kristoffer Larsen Seivåg at Bodø Cemetery.
Seivåg’s spatial planner tells how very early on they started to think of new ideas about Bodø Kirkegård.
– We don’t have much green space in Bodo. That’s why we thought early on:
“What can we do to get enough green space in the new neighborhood?”
– In addition to its function as a cemetery, Bodø Kirkegård could serve as a central green area in the new district. As a park and recreation area, Sevog explains.
This summer, the city council adopted the Bodo Municipal President Spatial plan of the area.
There the allotment of the land was confirmed by the cemetery.
In other words, it will be used as a green passage to the new neighborhood.
Tom Sully emphasizes that different jobs can mesh well.
Completely different usage from Russia
Researcher at NMBU Grabalov explains that burial plots, especially in Scandinavia, are increasingly being used for things other than mourning.
– In Copenhagen, I noticed that tradition did not conflict with entertainment. He says there is something interesting about someone using the cemetery to run.
In Denmark, it is recognized that they were more liberal than in Norway.
Cemeteries in Copenhagen are largely social places. For example, they investigate how burial groves can be used to connect urban areas, he explains and adds:
– In Oslo they realized that too, but there is more emphasis on greening and the local climate.
However, there is plenty of evidence that Norway also uses cemeteries to a large extent to connect urban areas – such as Bodo.
– In Bodo there will be a axis across the cemetery to the new area. Here we will take care of things like footpaths, bike paths, recreational areas, garden areas or other activities, Seivåg explains.
Not to be at the expense of tradition
Although Norwegians’ ideas about what the cemetery could be used for are changing, many likely think it should be a quiet place.
Tom Sully doesn’t think there would be a problem with too much noise.
– I understand that in people’s spinal cord. Don’t bring big speakers and attend a rock concert. Every time you reach such a place, you almost automatically enter another mode.
– It’s a quiet place with space to think.
Grabalov does not think the cemeteries will lose their identity any time soon.
– I think burial plots will be burial plots in the future as well. They are often of significant value in large cities. A place where you can be alone and think about life.
– We need these places and I hope they will be there in the future. At the same time, I hope that cemeteries will also become places where activities take place without compromising tradition. Here, planning should facilitate the right activity to be done.
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