This article engages with recent debates surrounding non-representational theory and the affective turn in the social sciences, arguing that such thinking offers a particularly useful set of concepts for the discipline of planning. This includes a widened notion of agency to the inclusion of more-than-human bodies (i.e. material agency) and a focus on daily practice and the embodied experience of place. Calling upon the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, the author puts forward affective atmospheres as a post-humanist way of studying socio-spatial processes associated with place identity and the spatial imaginaries that animate planning activity. Recognising the co-constitutive nature of research and social worlds, the article offers a performative methodology that situates researchers directly within the material and discursive environments they seek to investigate. © The Author(s) 2013.