This theme critically analyses the processes of making the material and social environment. It challenges the approaches to social and spatial analysis that disregard the material environment, but goes beyond an interest in its physical qualities to look for its social and psychological significance. Using cultural and social analysis, this theme investigates the concepts and meanings of place, the production of space, and the power relations between different people and institutions involved. It studies the planning, design, development, management and use of the urban environment as embedded and embodied processes with social and environmental consequences. It addresses the different spatial and temporal scales of these processes, with a view to the current and future implications for urban change. It engages with the governance of place, the range of disciplines and actors involved in these processes, but goes beyond this multiplicity by drawing attention to the unheard voices and concerns.