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Conference paper, 2008

Spiritual Places in the Urban Contemporary Landscape

Jallow, Sabina; Lieberg, Mats


Key words: Spiritual places, Spontaneous memorials, Public space, Urban landscape, Planning, Design, People in urban environments often express a need to find particular places to disconnect from the everyday stress and be nourished by the tranquil and spiritual. Our cemeteries are presently helping to fill this need due to their design, vegetation, and central locations in urban environments. However, some people may not want to be confronted with the religious overtones of a cemetery. Spiritual places contributing to a meaningful cityscape of the future may need to be different from those we have today. The purpose of this paper is to present results from an interdisciplinary research study on spiritual places in the urban contemporary landscape of Sweden. The study is part of a bigger research project aiming to generate knowledge and an understanding of spontaneous places for memory and meaning in the urban landscape. Based on theories of urban sociology and landscape architecture, this project investigates which tools, artifacts, and methods that can be used to integrate such memorial places into the urban structure, as well as exploring how this could enrich the human environment by creating increased value for its inhabitants. An outcome of the research will be to gain knowledge of how new places of memory and meaning can be created in the urban landscape in a time when people are constantly moving and where different cultures interact in a way that is new to us in many aspects. Such an outcome will not only contribute to a theoretical development of the field of research, it will also help us understand diverse conceptions of what a memorial or a place of ritual is, which further may lead us to visualize and concretize how these various ideas of meaning and memorialisation may be represented in the contemporary urban landscape. By including urban and cultural sociologists, as well as a product designer and a landscape architect, we are approaching this task interdisciplinary. Research questions and methods of analysis are further developed in seminars including theologians, architects, landscape architects, sociologists and ethnologists. An aim of joint problem formulation and methodological integration permeates the project. Sketching procedures and visualizations will also be used in upcoming workshops with planners, decision makers, architects and users, to further develop the concept of memorial sites in the urban landscape. The paper will discuss the outcomes of the first two years of the project

Published in


IAPS 20th International Conference in Rome; Urban diversities, biosphere and well-being:designing and managing our common environment

Authors' information

Jallow, Sabina
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Landskapsarkitektur
Lieberg, Mats
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Landscape Planning Alnarp

UKÄ Subject classification

Economics and Business
Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use
Social Sciences
Landscape Architecture

URI (permanent link to this page)