The ABC's AM program asks "Would you have coffee in a cemetery or take your kids to play near a family member's final resting place?" After all, it was a popular pursuit during the Victorian era and some people are trying to revive the practice.

 A cemetery is the last place you would expect to find people laughing, being more often associated with death, sadness and even the supernatural.

Fawkner Memorial Park, just north of Melbourne's CBD, has a historical monument, perfectly manicured gardens, a cafe and train station in the middle.

It was built in 1906 and it is over 100 acres in size.

Jacqui Weatherill from the Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust wants to design more cemeteries to attract the living.

She said planning for new cemeteries engages the community early to gauge their needs and to form their perceptions.

"People come into cemeteries now and see that we have playgrounds and they can have a cup of coffee, [it's] for walking the dogs, riding their pushbikes, running — people can come here and meditate," she said.

Ms Weatherill said cemeteries became known as scary or sad places after World War I.

The design of new cemeteries is in line with the move away from traditional burial practices, according to Bernard Salt, managing director of the Demographics Group.

"Our attitude towards death and remembrance and memorials is changing," he said.

Mr Salt said more people were paying attention to the burial process, choosing environmentally friendly coffins and ceremonies not involving churches.

The full report..