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.


Central place

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  1. General terms and concepts
  2. Centrality research: Description of central place systems
  3. Steering impact of central place concepts
  4. Outlook
Additional literature

The term ‘central place’ was coined by Christaller as part of his central place theory. He defines central places as location clusters of goods (goods and services) that are characteristic for central places (descriptive term). In spatial planning practice, the municipality, as the addressee of the legal norm allocating the central place function, is mostly equated with the central place (normative term).

Thomas Terfrüchte, Florian Flex

City, town

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  1. The phenomenon of the city/town: a multifaceted term
  2. The city/town: terms and phenomenon
  3. The city/town in regional, national and international contexts
Additional literature

This paper enquires into and elucidates the terms related to the city/town and its characteristics from different perspectives – in everyday language and in interdisciplinary urban research. Since the terms associated with the city/town can be simple or complex and may relate more closely to society and/or space, particularly within urban geography, they open up a multifaceted approach to the topic, with references being made to specific aspects in the Handbook of Urban and Spatial Development.

Heinz Heineberg

Civil society

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  1. Introduction
  2. The traditional understanding of the term and the current understanding of civil society
  3. Civil society as an interpretative framework for social and political stakeholders
  4. Civil society and democracy
  5. Civil society and the economy

Civil society is a social sphere which lies beyond the state, but not outside the political sphere. These stakeholders exist in an intermediate public space between the state, the commercial sector and the private sphere. This article explains the background to the history of the idea and the current popularity of the term in the social sciences.

Ansgar Klein

Climate protection

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  1. Introduction: Climate protection and climate change
  2. Action areas for climate protection in urban and spatial development
  3. Climate protection in urban land-use planning and spatial planning
  4. Conclusions
Additional literature

Spatial planning and urban land-use planning can contribute to climate protection by reducing emissions through climate-compatible settlement structures; decreasing the amount of energy used by transport, settlements and buildings; and developing and/or safeguarding land for renewable energies and carbon sinks. Energy strategies and communication strategies can play a supporting role.

Mark Fleischhauer

Climate, climate change

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  1. The earth’s climate
  2. Climate as a changing system
  3. Current climate change
  4. Courses of action for dealing with climate change

Additional literature

The global climate is currently changing, primarily due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. There are many other factors which play a role in climate, starting with the sun’s radiation. Climate during the past ice ages was highly variable; by contrast it has been relatively stable over the past 10,000 years. Different scenarios and climate models are used to determine how climate might develop in the future.

Manfred Stock

Coastal protection and flood defence

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1 A brief history
2 What is coastal protection and flood defence?
3 Legal framework
4 Planning and coastal protection and flood defence
5 The Wadden Sea
6 The Joint

Johannes Oelerich

Competitive location policy

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1 Definition and objectives of a competitive location policy
2 Current challenges and types of a competition between locations
3 Theoretical principles of a competitive location policy
4 Relevance of different locational factors
5 Selected empirical findings
6 Implications for a competitive location policy

The ongoing economic globalisation is resulting in new challenges for a competitive location policy. Recent research into competition processes between locations indicates a shift in the significance of individual location factors, which competitive location policy will have to take into account in promoting growth and employment both locally and regionally.

Thomas Döring

Concepts of spatial planning (Raumordnung)

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  1. Definition and overview
  2. Origin and historical development
  3. The basic concepts of spatial planning
  4. Informal strategies of spatial planning and spatial development
  5. Conclusions and outlook

The concepts of spatial planning, which were introduced in the 1960s and developed thereafter, describe some fundamental principles of spatial structures and some general schemes that are based on those principles and which are particularly geared towards implementation. This article shall discuss the essential concepts of spatial planning, their origin and historical development as well as their current significance in spatial planning, including in relation to informal strategies.

Angelika Münter, Frank Osterhage

Contaminated sites

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Dealing with contaminated sites is a complex and, as has become evident, long-term problem for our society. More than 300,000 sites suspected of being contaminated have been identified in Germany to date. Germany’s Federal Soil Protection Act distinguishes between former waste disposal sites, former industrial sites, and contaminated sites.

Uwe Kallert

Cooperation, cross-border

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  1. Definition and relevance
  2. Challenges
  3. Legal framework
  4. Instruments, forms of steering, institutions
  5. Funding programmes

Additional literature

Cross-border cooperation refers to cooperation between regional and municipal territorial authorities as well as other partners in bordering regions. This cooperation is promoted in all European border regions as part of the European regional policy to overcome border barriers.

Robert Knippschild

Cooperation, transnational

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  1. Definition and relevance
  2. INTERREG – Transnational cooperation
  3. Federal programme – Transnational cooperation
  4. Macro-regions and macro-regional strategies
Additional literature

Transnational cooperation refers to cooperation between national, regional and municipal partners involving several member states of the European Union. This cooperation is promoted as part of European regional policy for the purposes of integrated spatial development.

Robert Knippschild

Cooperative planning

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  1. Terminology
  2. Theoretical classification
  3. Cooperative planning in practice
  4. Conclusions and discussion
Additional literature

Cooperative planning is the result of a changed perception of the state, whereby hierarchical administrative action is supplemented by cooperative elements. An essential characteristic of cooperative planning is coordination through the reconciliation of interests and compromise. This requires skills in moderation and process management to complement the qualification profile of urban and spatial planning.

Jörg Knieling

Cultural landscape

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  1. Cultural landscapes and spatial planning
  2. Cultural landscapes in science
  3. Cultural landscapes in practice
  4. Suburban spaces as cultural landscapes

One of the principles of spatial planning in Germany is the preservation and development of cultural landscapes. Inventories and regionalisation determine which landscapes are considered a concern of planning. Depending on the precise understanding of cultural landscapes, they will generally be landscapes that are characterised by cultural and historical elements and structures.

Winfried Schenk, Elena Tillmann