(Im)possible Chicago #1: Acer necropolis
After scientists had perfected the technique of splicing human DNA into the DNA of a tree, the Bureau of Forestry, the department which is responsible for the more than half a million trees on public right-of-ways, entered into a business partnership with the multi-billion dollar funeral industry to turn the city's urban forest into a living necropolis.
In previous revenue-generating schemes, the perennially cash-strapped city had privatized its airports, toll roads, parking meters — much of its public infrastructure, in fact — which proved disastrous. Not so with this arboreal venture.
The number of trees increased exponentially, even the types of species used. Every tree is lush and vigorous, since not only are they well maintained by caretakers with an eternally flowing revenue stream but also by the bereaved, who in their grief come daily to tend lovingly to the trees and the surrounding planting beds. Tear-drenched anguish has been appropriated into the city beautification program.
The sidewalks, too, look immaculate. Not a single stray candy wrapper can be found, and no one dares urinate on the botanically re-encoded dead. The pavement, after all, is now hallowed ground.
On the Day of the Dead, the streets in the city's many Hispanic neighborhoods become the site of deliriously exuberant block parties. Arbor Day is moved to coincide with Memorial Day.
Later, Google pays exorbitantly for the rights to geospatilize and network the data on all the trees onto its suite of web mapping service applications. Consequently, gravesite visits needn't be performed exclusively in real space; the pilgrimage can now be undertaken virtually. From anywhere and at anytime, you can check up on how the tree is faring, see it grow and mature and bear transgenic fruits, watch as your loved one unconsciously experience an after life.