Afterword: Planning and the Non-modern City

  • Andrew Karvonen


Cities are messy, planning is messy. Things do not come together as nicely as we would like; they do not necessarily add up. It is one thing to say that cities are multifaceted and complex and quite another to engage with and study this complexity and make sense of it. STS provides a way to interpret and engage with urban messiness without oversimplifying and missing out on the essence of cities. Moreover, STS sparks the urban imaginary and challenges us to think differently about the spatial, material, and discursive aspects of cities. The contributions to this volume demonstrate how planning scholars are engaging with the non-modern character of cities; its complexity, ambiguity, indeterminacy, and uncertainty. While this is a more challenging way to interpret and understand the world, when done well it provides more accurate and arguably more useful accounts.


  1. Aibar, Eduardo, and Wiebe E. Bijker. 1997. Constructing a City: The Cerdà Plan for the Extension of Barcelona. Science, Technology & Human Values 22 (1): 3–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Beauregard, Robert. 2015. Planning Matter: Acting with Things. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Brain, David. 1994. Cultural Production as “Society in the Making”: Architecture as an Exemplar of the Social Construction of Cultural Artefacts. In The Sociology of Culture, ed. Diana Crane, 191–220. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Coutard, Olivier, ed. 2002. The Governance of Large Technical Systems. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Coutard, Olivier, and Simon Guy. 2007. STS and the City: Politics and Practices of Hope. Science, Technology, and Human Values 32 (6): 713–734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Farías, Ignacio. 2011. The Politics of Urban Assemblages. City 15 (3–4): 365–374.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Graham, Stephen. 1998. The End of Geography or the Explosion of Place? Conceptualizing Space, Place and Information Technology. Progress in Human Geography 22 (2): 165–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Graham, Stephen, and Simon Marvin. 2001. Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  9. Guy, Simon. 1997. Splintering Networks: Cities and Technical Networks in 1990s Britain. Urban Studies 34 (2): 191–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Guy, Simon, and Andrew Karvonen. 2011. Using Sociotechnical Methods: Researching Human-Technological Dynamics in the City. In Understanding Social Research: Thinking Creatively about Method, ed. Jennifer Mason and Angela Dale, 120–133. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Harvey, Francis, and Nick Chrisman. 1998. Boundary Objects and the Social Construction of GIS Technology. Environment and Planning A 30 (9): 1683–1694.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hommels, Anique. 2005. Unbuilding Cities: Obduracy in Urban Sociotechnical Change. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  13. Karvonen, Andrew. 2011. Politics of Urban Runoff: Nature, Technology, and the Sustainable City. London: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  14. Latour, Bruno. 2004. Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences into Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Latour, Bruno and Emilie Hermant. 1998. Paris: Invisible City. Self-Published. Last accessed September 22, 2016.
  16. Marres, Noortje. 2007. The Issues Deserve More Credit: Pragmatist Contributions to the Study of Public Involvement in Controversy. Social Studies of Science 37 (5): 759–780.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. ———. 2012. Material Participation: Technology, the Environment and Everyday Publics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mayntz, Renate, and Thomas P. Hughes, eds. 1988. The Development of Large Technical Systems. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  19. Murdoch, Jonathan, and Terry Marsden. 1995. The Spatialization of Politics: Local and National Actor-Spaces in Environmental Conflict. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 20: 368–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Philol, Chris. 1995. Animals, Geography, and the City: Notes on Inclusions and Exclusions. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 13 (6): 655–681.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Pryke, Michael, Gillian Rose, and Sarah Whatmore, eds. 2003. Using Social Theory: Thinking through Research. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  22. Söderström, Ola. 1996. Paper Cities: Visual Thinking in Urban Planning. Cultural Geographies 3 (3): 249–281.Google Scholar
  23. Star, Susan Leigh. 1999. The Ethnography of Infrastructure. American Behavioral Scientist 43 (3): 377–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Summerton, Jane, ed. 1994. Changing Large Technical Systems. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.Google Scholar
  25. Swyngedouw, Erik. 1996. The City as a Hybrid: on Nature, Society and Cyborg Urbanization. Capitalism Nature Socialism 7 (2): 65–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Thrift, Nigel. 2008. Non-Representational Theory: Space, Politics, Affect. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Vannini, Phillip, ed. 2015. Non-Representational Methodologies: Re-Envisioning Research. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  28. Whatmore, Sarah. 2006. Materialist Returns: Practising Cultural Geography in and for a More-Than-Human World. Cultural Geographies 13 (4): 600–609.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Woodhouse, Edward, David Hess, Steve Breyman, and Brian Martin. 2002. Science Studies and Activism: Possibilities and Problems for Reconstructivist Agendas. Social Studies of Science 32 (2): 297–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew Karvonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Urbana o Regionala Studier, KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyStockholmSweden

Personalised recommendations