Planning is centrally focused on places which are significant to people, including both the built and natural environments. In making changes to these places, planning outcomes inevitably benefit some and disadvantage others. It is perhaps surprising that Actor Network Theory (ANT) has only recently been considered as an appropriate lens through which to understand planning practice. This book brings together an international range of contributors to explore such potential of ANT in more detail.
While it can be thought of as a subset of complexity theory, given its appreciation for non-linear processes and responses, ANT has its roots in the sociology of scientific and technology studies. ANT now comprises a rich set of concepts that can be applied in research, theoretical and empirical. It is a relational approach that posits a radical symmetry between social and material actors (or actants). It suggests the importance of dynamic processes by which networks of relationships become formed, shift and have effect.
And while not inherently normative, ANT has the potential to strengthen other more normative domains of planning theory through its unique analytical lens. However, this requires theoretical and empirical work and the papers in this volume undertake such work. This is the first volume to provide a full consideration of how ANT can contribute to planning studies, and suggests a research agenda for conceptual development and empirical application of the theory.
Introduction, 1. Exploring the Influence of ANT (Yvonne Rydin and Laura Tate), PART A: Using ANT: Applied Planning Analyses, 2. Constructing "Green Building": Heterogeneous Networks and the Translation of Sustainability into Planning in Israel (Shula Goulden), 3. Planned Derailment for New Urban Futures? An Actant Network Analysis of the "Great [Light] Rail Debate" in Newcastle, Australia (Kristian Ruming, Kathleen Mee and Pauline McGuirk), 4. Grants as Significant Objects in Community Engagement Networks: Kelowna, British Columbia (Silvia Vilches and Laura Tate), 5. Assembling Localism: Practices of Assemblage and Building the "Big Society" in Oxfordshire, England (Sue Brownill), 6. Two Exemplar Green Developments in Trondheim, Norway: Tales of Qualculation and Non Qualculation (Thomas Berker and Stig Larssӕther), 7. Unpacking the Swedish Urban Sustainable Imaginary: at the World Expo, Shanghai, China (Anna Hult), 8. Relationships of the Material, Cultural and Political in the Redesign of Stortorget, Malmö, Sweden (Mattias Kärrholm), 9. Assembling Energy Futures: Seawater District Heating in The Hague, Netherlands (Simon Guy, Graeme Sheriff, Chris Goodier and Ksenia Chmutina), PART B: The Way Forward: Innovative Practices and Theoretical Controversies, 10. Can Actor Network Theory Provide a Theory of Action? Planning in New York, USA (Robert Beauregard and Laura Lieto), 11. "Emergent places": Innovative Practices in Zurich, Switzerland (Joris Van Wezemael and Jan Silberberger), 12. Applications within Urban Living Labs of Flanders’ N16 corridor, Belgium (Luuk Boelens and Marleen Goethals), 13. Hydro-Urbanism in London: Using Co-evolutionary Actor Network Theory as a Prospective Methodology (Tse-Hui The), 14. Towards an Extended Symmetry: using ANT to Reflect on the Theory and Practice Gap (David Webb), 15. "A Grand Question of Design": Knowledge, Space and Difference in Early and Late Latour (Malcolm Tait and Kiera Chapman)