Pavel Grabalov 2018

Norwegian University of Life Sciences

Public life among the dead: jogging in Malmö cemeteries

Urban cemeteries in the Swedish city of Malmö witness a great variety of usages, and are not just limited to commemoration practices. However, the social acceptance of nonconventional activities on cemetery sites is still debatable. This paper aims to explore jogging as one among many activities in Malmö cemeteries and to understand people’s opinions about this activity. Three urban cemeteries, differing in size, location and design were examined through three methods: observations of activities, a study of social media and an online questionnaire. The activities in these Malmö cemeteries vary depending on the sites’ features, and are never limited to the primary functions of these spaces. Jogging is an essential part of the activities in each of the cemeteries and does not visibly conflict with the other functions of the cemeteries. At the same time this study demonstrates evidence that, for many users, cemeteries remain special localities with their own set of behavioural norms where jogging is still questionable. The research proves some similarity between the functions of the urban cemeteries in Malmö and formalized parks and their potential for accommodating a variety of functions which should be explored in future research. In the context of increased urban development, a better understanding of the current role of the cemeteries within the urban fabric appears highly relevant for green infrastructure and public space planners. The presentation of the paper also includes directions for future research.


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