Today, urban scholars think of cities and regions as evolving through networks of human associations, technologies, and natural ecologies. This being the case, planners are faced with the task of navigating a profoundly material world. Planning with and for humans alone is unacceptable: in the unfolding of urban processes, non-human things cannot be ignored. This inclusive vision has consequences for how planners envision the connections among norms, technologies and life-worlds as well as how they design and implement their plans.
The contributors to this volume utilize a variety of examples – ecologically-sensitive, regional planning in Naples (Italy); congestion pricing in New York City; and public participation in Europe, among others – to explore how planners engage a heterogeneous and restless world. Inspired by assemblage thinking and actor-network theory, each chapter draws on this "new materialism" to acknowledge, in quite pragmatic ways, that spatial politics is a process of becoming that is inseparable from the materiality of urban practices.
Introduction 1. Planning and the politics of resistance (Robert A. Beauregard) 2. Things, rules and politics: Blurring the boundaries between formality and informality (Laura Lieto) 3. The pedestrianization of the Naples’ seafront: Assemblage thinking as a planning tool (Gilda Berruti) 4. Translation: William Vickrey and the remaking of transportation knowledge infrastructure (John West) 5. Re-assembling world and waste: Informal practices of waste picking in Naples (Laura Basco) 6. ‘Recombinant’ hybrid ecologies and landscapes: Piana Campana, South Italy (Enrico Formato) 7. Minutiae: Meeting minutes as actors in participatory planning processes (Linus Vanhellemont & Serena Vicari Haddock) 8. Mobilizing policy: Microfinance’s journey from Bangladesh to Washington DC (Linying He) 9. Normative planning research in a material world? Trading zones and assemblages (Raine Mäntysalo, Ilona Akkila & Alessandro Balducci) 10. Assemblage, assembly and difference (Attilio Belli) Final remarks