Urban materialities: meaning, magnitude, friction, and outcomes

Roland Fletcher

in The Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780199218714
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

Urban materialities: meaning, magnitude, friction, and outcomes


The materiality of urbanism encompasses the words and actions by which we relate ourselves to it, the economics of its creation and maintenance, the impact of the material on the viability of community life, and also the long-term trajectories of urban growth and decline. Archaeological approaches to urban materiality tend to focus on how people seek to use the material and also emphasize what the material meant, in verbal terms, to its users. This article focuses on urban materialities, its meaning, magnitude, friction, and outcomes. This article further discusses words, metaphors, and urban materials. In discussing metaphor the material scholars have recognized ‘an inherent problem in the precise relationship between a world of words and world of things’. This article discusses the process of analyzing transformation through time. A detailed analysis on the growth and changing trends in urban industrialization concludes this article.

Keywords: urban materialities; urbanism; economics; materiality; archaeological approaches; magnitude; friction

Article.  9379 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; History and Theory of Archaeology

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