Making things irreversible. Object stabilization in urban planning and design

M. Duineveld, K.A.M. van Assche, R. Beunen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Based on a detailed reconstruction of the planning process of a controversial major building in the Dutch city of Groningen, we develop a theoretical and conceptual framework for studying object formation and stabilisation. We argue that the many forms of resistance against the object itself triggered a variety of counter-strategies of object formation. We make a distinction between sites, paths and techniques of object formation. To study object formation in more detail we distinguish three techniques: reification, solidification and codification. The techniques of object formation are accompanied by three techniques that produce a relative stability of the object, that increases its irreversibility, the likelihood of object survival: objectification, naturalisation and institutionalisation. We conclude that complete irreversibility is an illusion in governance and planning processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16-24
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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