This thesis arises from the notion that there are yet to be unlocked potentials for urban cemeteries. Today, many urban cemeteries are monofunctional, secretive, and closed-off spaces. Initially established in the city's periphery, their regained position within the city forms one of the arguments to reconsider their relationship with the urban tissue.
With the concept of compact cities gaining in popularity, all green areas, including green cemeteries, might become more attractive as publicly accessible spaces. Combined with a general decline in burials, public use can mean the difference between succumbing to degradation or becoming a thriving part of the local community. Furthermore, urban cemeteries offer tremendous opportunities to improve their ecological performance, which is simply inevitable when planning and designing in the age of a climate and biodiversity crisis.
Therefore, this thesis looks for a better understanding of the current role of urban cemeteries and potential additional roles. It is profiled as a two-legged approach; grasping green urban cemeteries as a story on culture and nature, inherent to the landscape architectural discipline. It aims to redefine what a cemetery can become, thereby reinforcing its role in the urban green infrastructure.
Learning from three reference studies and transforming the findings into design guidelines formed the starting point for a research-based design for the Tongerseweg Cemetery, a monumental and actively used cemetery in Maastricht. A thorough analysis, theoretical research, and design guidelines formed the basis for the strategies and design interventions proposed for the cemetery. It offers an attractive perspective of the transformation into a biodiverse, climate-positive community space.
The work is published both in this academic report and as a catalog containing design approaches, strategies, and principles on various levels of abstractions. The catalog aims to serve as a reference work for the practice side of the landscape architectural discipline.