Thursday, August 7, 2014
All around the world, populations are rivaling the deceased for land, driving up real-estate costs into the afterlife. Even in large Asian cities where creation is customary, space for urns is in short supply. “At the end of the day, it’s like any other piece of real estate . . . Prices have conspired to put burials out of the range of most people’s budgets.”
Every week, an estimated 1,000 New Yorkers pass away, and Manhattan is running out of room for them. Out in Brooklyn, prices of plots for deceased, and apartments for the living are at record highs.
Aside from burial plots, according to the National Funeral Directors Association, the median cost of a funeral in the U.S. is $7,000. This, in addition to shifting cultural and religious attitudes, explains why cremations will become increasingly common. Compared to 1960, where fewer than 4 percent of Americans chose cremation, that number increased to 43 percent in 2012.
From a floating cemetery on the South China Sea to launching corpses into space, architects and urban planners are coming up with new ways to dispose of human remains. “The problem is pressing, now more than ever . . . Right now we’re not being efficient, or environmental.”
See Flavia Krause-Jackson, Scarce Cemetery Space Creates Prices to Die For: Cities, Bloomberg, Aug. 4, 2014.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.