Make kin, not cities! Multispecies entanglements and 'becoming-world' in planning theory

Donna Houston*, Jean Hillier, Diana MacCallum, Wendy Steele, Jason Byrne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


Much planning theory has been undergirded by an ontological exceptionalism of humans. Yet, city planning does not sit outside of the eco-social realities co-producing the Anthropocene. Urban planners and scholars, therefore, need to think carefully and critically about who speaks for (and with) the nonhuman in place making. In this article, we identify two fruitful directions for planning theory to better engage with the imbricated nature of humans and nonhumans is recognised as characteristic of the Anthropocene – multispecies entanglements and becoming-world. Drawing on the more-than-human literature in urban and cultural geography and the environmental humanities, we consider how these terms offer new possibilities for productively rethinking the ontological exceptionalism of humans in planning theory. We critically explore how planning theory might develop inclusive, ethical relationships that can nurture possibilities for multispecies flourishing in diverse urban futures, the futures that are increasingly recognised as co-produced by nonhuman agents in the context of climate variability and change. This, we argue, is critical for developing climate-adaptive planning tools and narratives for the creation of socially and environmentally just multispecies cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)190-212
Number of pages23
JournalPlanning Theory
Issue number2
Early online date3 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018


  • Anthropocene
  • becoming-world
  • cities
  • climate change
  • multispecies


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