Vertical Cemeteries Economize Space in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s distinctive topography and the issues caused by its increasing lack of space are both readily visible in the planning of the city’s new cemeteries. A photographic report from the Guardian presents some interesting correspondences between the verticality of the city’s living residents and their homes, and its deceased population. Built on hillsides where almost every square foot of free space is dedicated to a gravestone site, the cemeteries of Chai Wan, Tseung Kwann O or Pok Fu Lam offer a unique verticality and density reminiscent of the buildings in the pictures’ background.
These cemeteries are most often visited during Qingming and Gung Yeung, two traditional festivals wherein family members clean the gravestone of their ancestors. Due to a severe lack of space, grave plots in Hong Kong are now quite rare and expensive (approximately $30,000). Alternatively, cremated ashes can also be conserved in urns and stored in public burial vaults, but this kind of public columbarium typically requires a wait list of approximately 5 years.