Death in the Peripheries: Planning for minority ethnic groups beyond ‘the city’

Yasminah Beebeejaun, Katie McClymont, Danny McNally, Brenda Mathijssen, Avril Maddrell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


“Deathscapes” are a growing field of research within social and cultural geography but to date little attention has been paid to the provision of space for death within urban planning. This paper examines a central yet largely ignored requirement of everyday life: the provision of suitable facilities and support around death, remembrance, and disposal of bodily remains. Our focus is the empirical and theoretical implications of the ongoing marginalization of British Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups in the UK and the intersection with planning for death. Our research took place in three English towns (Huddersfield, Northampton and Swindon) and one Welsh town (Newport). While sites of bodily disposal, and practices of mourning and remembrance, are universal they are negotiated, practiced, and ritualized in diverse ways within multi-ethnic societies. Our research finds a lack of co-ordination of cemetery, crematoria, and remembrance provision in England and Wales, creating fragmented approaches to planning for burial and cremation sites. We argue that dominant cultural norms are reproduced leading to the marginalization of minority group within planning for death. We explore how the needs of ethnic minority groups are peripheralized through a spatial imaginary where British towns are not recognized as sites of diversity, hindering recognition of appropriate rituals and services for death. We call for greater recognition of the multi-ethnic nature of these places and continuing need for spatial arrangements that recognize diverse needs and wishes in death.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Planning Education and Research
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jul 2021


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