Planning for migrant and minority deathscapes in the United Kingdom

Authors: Avril Maddrell*, , Yasminah Beebeejaun*, , Katie McClymont, UWE , Danny McNally*, , Brenda Mathijssen*,
Topics: Planning Geography, Cultural Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Deathscapes, Town Planning, Policy, Cemeteries, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 5, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper investigates to what extent town planning policy effectively engages with the diverse practices of bodily disposal, mourning and remembrance found within migrant and established minority groups in the UK. While sites of bodily disposal and practices of mourning and remembrance are universal, they are negotiated, practiced and ritualised in diverse ways within multicultural societies. Moreover, cemetery, crematoria and remembrance provision tends to be addressed on an ad hoc basis rather than integrated into UK local authority development plans. Increasing pressure for land combined with a lack of centralised management contribute to a fragmented approach to planning for burial sites. Further, whilst there is acknowledgement within town planning of diverse groups in public participation, this is often based on oversimplifications founded on nationalist and imperialist assumptions (Beebeejaun, 2012). Given the oversimplification of diversity and the lack of systematic planning policy for deathscapes at national or local levels, we argue that diversity-ready sites are a social, cultural and political necessity for an inclusive and integrated multicultural society. Drawing on four case study towns in England and Wales, this paper will critically discuss how diverse deathscape practices and preferences can be respected, enhanced and planned for through local and national policy.

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