Assemblage Thinking in Planning Theory

Authored by: Joris Van Wezemael

The Routledge Handbook of Planning Theory

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138905016
eBook ISBN: 9781315696072
Adobe ISBN:


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The aim of this chapter is to show how and why Assemblage Theory matters for planning theory, to explain how it deals with the critique of collaborative approaches toward rationalist planning, and how it fixes important shortfalls of collaborative approaches. Assemblage Theory is a young strand of thinking within the field of planning theory. It draws on Deleuze’s idea 1 that social and material formations are assemblages of other complex configurations, and they in turn play roles in other, more extended configurations. It has been introduced to the field in the late years of the first decade of this century (Van Wezemael 2008) and developed significant influence since then in planning, urban geography, urban studies and architecture (Anderson and McFarlane 2011; Anderson, Kearnes, McFarlane and Swanton 2012; Ballantyne 2007; Farías and Bender 2009; Hillier 2007; De Roo, Hillier and Van Wezemael 2012; Hillier and Abrahams 2013; McCann 2011; McFarlane 2011a, 2011b; Palmas 2007; Van Wezemael 2009; Van Wezemael and Silberberger 2016). I will argue here that we should pay attention to the context and to the reasons of its introduction to planning theory. This will lay the ground for its explanation and evaluation in this chapter.

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