Urban Death Project: turning human bodies into compost

Everybody will one day die. But the way people say goodbye to the recently deceased body varies to the country and culture. In the U.S. there are two main options: traditional burial and cremation.

A Seattle architect hopes to change that.

Katrina Spade is the founder of the Urban Death Project in Seattle. Listen to her talk about the process and space for the project:

Watch the video with Katrina:

Special Project: An exploration of death and dirt

Grace Seidel, 55, recently decided to have her remains composted once she dies. Seidel has a passion for death and dirt which reinforces the idea of her body going back to the earth.

“It’s easier for me to just know that when my life s over, it will be over,” says Seidel. “So I can make the best of what I have now, be the kindest person I can be, and hope people feel good when they think about me.”

 

Listen to Seidel talk more about dirt and death:

 

Seattle resident mixes love for death and dirt for afterlife wishes

Seattle resident, Grace Seidel, loves gardening and dirt. She recently decided she wants to participate in the Urban Death Project, which turns human remains into compost. October 21, 2014. Photo by Constanza Gallardo.
Seattle resident, Grace Seidel, loves gardening and dirt. She recently decided she wants to participate in the Urban Death Project, which turns human remains into compost. October 21, 2014. Photo by Constanza Gallardo.

 

Grace Seidel, 55, decided to have her body, after dying, to be part of the Urban Death Project in Seattle. Her remains would be be used as compost for an urban garden.

“I don’t need to know that im going to live forever,” said Seidel. “Is not necessary, and it’s perhaps a construct of our fear of death.”

 

Watch Seidel describe dirt:

Reporters capture unique angles in the field

Constanza Gallardo reports in the field
NPR Next Generation Radio reporter Constanza Gallardo shoots photos of subject Grace Seidel while covering a story in Seattle on Oct. 21, 2014.

Reporters for NPR’s Next Generation Radio began their projects as part of a week-long multimedia training project.

Constanza Gallardo’s story revolves around Seattle resident Grace Seidel, who is fascinated by the Urban Death Project and wants her remains turned into compost.