Planning Matter: Acting with Things

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University of Chicago Press, Nov 3, 2015 - Architecture - 272 pages
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City and regional planners talk constantly about the things of the world—from highway interchanges and retention ponds to zoning documents and conference rooms—yet most seem to have a poor understanding of the materiality of the world in which they’re immersed. Too often planners treat built forms, weather patterns, plants, animals, or regulatory technologies as passively awaiting commands rather than actively involved in the workings of cities and regions.

In the ambitious and provocative Planning Matter, Robert A. Beauregard sets out to offer a new materialist perspective on planning practice that reveals the many ways in which the nonhuman things of the world mediate what planners say and do. Drawing on actor-network theory and science and technology studies, Beauregard lays out a framework that acknowledges the inevitable insufficiency of our representations of reality while also engaging more holistically with the world in all of its diversity—including human and nonhuman actors alike.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Ontographies
14
2 Talk Action and Consequences
36
3 Planning with Things
57
4 Neglected Places of Practice
76
5 Distributed Morality
95
6 Truths and Realities
113
7 Planning in an Obdurate World
133
8 Temporalities
151
9 Unfulfilled Promise
172
10 The Worldliness of Planning Theory
192
11 Planning Will Always Be Modern
211
Acknowledgments
227
Works Cited
229
Index
253
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About the author (2015)

Robert A. Beauregard is professor of urban planning in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. He is the author of When America Became Suburban and Voices of Decline: The Postwar Fate of U.S. Cities.

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