SXSW 2022

How Death & Rewilding Will Reshape Our Cities


With buzz building around “the city of the future,” everyone’s talking about smart cities run by big data. But is that really the future we want? Backslash explores how an obsession with wellness will reshape where and how we live. As we look to forge healthier relationships with spaces and places, we’ll see movements like death wellness and urban rewilding lead a shift towards lifecycle living. From biodegradable burial pods and human composting to biophilic cities—we imagine a future city that isn’t defined by sensors and surveillance—but by the natural circle of life. What if true progress is actually a return to how we did things in the past?

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  1. We’ll explore how two cultural shifts—death wellness and rewilding—are set to become a leading driver of urban planning innovation.
  2. We’ll examine the specific ways these shifts are coming to life now, unpack the barriers ahead, and outline key opportunities.
  3. This panel will share a new vision for city life in 2050: exploring a future where lifecycle living changes our shared spaces for the better.


  • Malcolm Smith, Global master planning and urban design leader, Arup
  • Katrina Spade, Founder & CEO, Recompose
  • Kotchakorn Voraakhom, Founder & CEO, Porousity
  • Skyler Hubler, Strategist, Backslash


Jason Lauckner, Producer/Editor, Backslash

Meta Information:

  • Event: SXSW
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: Design
  • Track 2 Culture
  • Level: Intermediate

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