Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

The Future of Urban Cemeteries as Public Spaces: Insights from Oslo and Copenhagen

Grabalov, Pavel; Nordh, Helena


Public spaces are believed to make cities more liveable, healthy and socially equal. To date, discussions about public spaces have primarily revolved around emblematic types, such as squares and parks, while little attention has been paid to cemeteries. Drawing on a review of public space scholarship and cemetery research, an analysis of strategies for cemetery development in two Scandinavlan capitals, Oslo and Copenhagen, and interviews with stake-holders, this paper elaborates on the cemetery as a special type of public space. Our findings demonstrate the potential of cemeteries' contribution to the urban environment as multifunctional public spaces - the trajectory envisioned by the two municipalities.


Cemetery; public space; spirituality; liminality; multicultural society; multifunctionality

Published in

Planning Theory and Practice
2022, volume: 23, number: 1, pages: 81-98

Authors' information

Grabalov, Pavel
Norwegian University of Life Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Urban and Rural Development
Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU)

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

UKÄ Subject classification

Landscape Architecture
Human Geography

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)