Latham, A. and McCormack, D.
Moving cities: rethinking the materialities of human geographies
Progress in Human Geography, 28, (6), . (doi:10.1191/0309132504ph515oa).
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In this paper we offer a discussion of the 'materiality' of the urban. This discussion is offered in the context of recent calls in various areas of the discipline for the necessity of 'rematerializing' human geography. While we agree with the spirit of these calls, if human geography (and, within that, urban geography) is going to return to the material, let alone articulate some kind of rapprochement between the 'material' and 'immaterial', it needs to be clear about the terms it is employing. Therefore, and drawing on a range of work from contemporary cultural theory, sociology, urban studies, urban history, architectural theory and urban geography, we sketch out more precisely what a 'rematerialized' urban geography might involve. Crucially, we argue that, rather than 'grounding' urban geography in more 'concrete' realities, paying increased attention to the material actually requires a more expansive engagement with the immaterial. In developing this argument we outline some important conceptual vehicles with which to work up an understanding of the material as processually emergent, before offering two pathways along which the materialities of the urban might be usefully apprehended, pathways that avoid simple oppositions between the 'material' and 'nonmaterial' while also restating the importance of understanding the complex spatialities of the urban.
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