Master thesis Research & teaching Ecosystems / Natural environments Layers / Grounds Livability / Social Practices
Pudong Xinqu
Shanghai, China

Shanghai Facing its Deceased

A historical, urban, social and digital situation recounting customs facing death in a traditional and innovative megalopolis
Mickaël GIRAUD
Original language
University course
Double Master's Degree Program ENSAS-CAUP Tongji

Shanghai is a reflection of a Chinese culture that has been constantly being followed as an example for the development of a whole country. Formerly at the heart of a dynamic funeral industry, the city is looking to renew itself after years of Maoist reforms. An image of a modern society, in motion, between digital innovations and recovered traditions, Shanghai is an interesting case study when it comes to habits, customs and spaces linked to death. The city's geopolitics, its history, its inhabitants and society are all parameters that need to be studied if we want to understand why the dead are currently being rejected from the city. It is important to associate the philosophical and spiritual part that the Chinese give to death (i. e. life) in order to be able to think about new ways of mourning and burial. By integrating a digital vision into this, by understanding the virtual and what it represents in today's urban society, we obtain a general idea of what tomorrow's funeral in Shanghai can be, a mixture of traditions and innovations, between reality and virtuality, between absence of the body and the presence of memory.

Keywords Death-city relationship, funerary space, cemetery, urban practices and social beliefs, virtual space, digital urban culture