The Compendium of Urban and Regional Development

The Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association (formerly known as The Academy for Spatial Research and Planning) (ARL) has been publishing the Handwörterbuch der Stadt- und Raumentwicklung for over five decades.

It is directed at interested academics and practitioners. A selection of English language articles can be downloaded here for free.

Looking for an article that is not yet available in English? Email us and let us know which article you would like to have translated!

The German versions of all articles are available here.


Binding land-use plan

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1 General
2 The essential content of a binding land-use plan
3 Effects of the requirements of spatial planning on a binding land-use plan
4 Procedure for preparing a binding land-use plan
5 Legal remedies against binding land-use plans


The binding land-use plan is the key instrument for the urban structural development of a municipality. In the binding land-use plan, stipulations laid down in graphic elements and text regulate the urban structural and other development of the municipal territory. As a rule, building projects must be approved if they are consistent with the stipulations of the binding land-use plan and are permissible in terms of building regulations.
A binding land-use plan may not violate higher-ranking laws, in particular the objectives of spatial planning. A binding land-use plan may be legally challenged by a third party affected by the plan by means of a judicial review of legislative acts pursuant to section 47(1) no. 1 of the Code of Administrative Court Procedure (Verwaltungsgerichtsordnung, VwGO). In addition, parties may have the lawfulness of a binding land-use plan reviewed through (concrete or incidental) judicial review by way of an action of annulment or an action to compel a decision.

Wolfgang Schroedter


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  1. Definition
  2. Biodiversity: from concept to convention
  3. On the ambivalence of the concept
  4. Action plans and strategies for biodiversity in the political arena
  5. Biodiversity in spatial planning
  6. Biodiversity and ecosystem services

Additional literature

Biodiversity (‘biological diversity’) encompasses the variety of life in all its manifestations. Starting with the Convention on Biological Diversity adopted in 1992, the concept has found its way into various strategies and action plans at the national and international levels, and biodiversity is now treated as a protected resource in environmental impact assessments.

Beate Jessel

Brownfield site, derelict/vacant site

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  1. Background
  2. Definition of terms and classifications
  3. Potential for urban and regional development
  4. Importance of brownfield sites for the challenges and objectives of urban and regional development
  5. Strategies for dealing with brownfield sites
  6. Planning instruments

Additional literature

Brownfield sites comprise areas which previously had built use, but which have been abandoned and have not been actively used for a defined subsequent use for a certain period of time, whereby the term derelict site originally referred to brownfield sites that were formerly used for military purposes, but are now also commonly comprise large-scale industrial and infrastructure brownfield sites.

Stefanie Rößler, Juliane Mathey

Building law

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  1. Public and private building law
  2. Development of public building law
  3. Urban development law
  4. Building regulations

Additional literature

Building law comprises both private and public legal regulations governing the type and density of built use, the municipal structure of building and development, and the legal relationships between the parties involved in preparing a project.

Susan Grotefels