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  1. Clarification of the concept and theoretical context
  2. Stakeholders in participation
  3. Reasons for participation and its significance for planning processes
  4. Prerequisites and quality standards for participation
  5. Forms, procedure and methods of participation
  6. Critical classification

Participation has gained currency again. Large-scale infrastructure projects demonstrate particularly well how important it is to involve the population in planning processes at an early stage. Communication strategies that take various forms, procedures and methods into account as well as quality standards and the specific spatial issues contribute to a successful process. This entry examines participation in the context of planning theory and outlines the most recent developments.

Heidi Sinning


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  1. Terminological demarcation
  2. The logic of planning
  3. Spatial planning as a type of planning
  4. Project and programme planning
  5. Planning and governance
  6. Historical planning controversies
  7. Planning dilemmas
  8. The limits of planning
Additional literature

Public planning is institutionalised, methodologically grounded and political (it must deal with numerous conflicts between relevant interests and social values/standards). The high demands made on public planning and the limited steering ability of planners lead to planning dilemmas. Planning is subject to constant change, and is closely linked to changes in the state or in the concept of the state.

Dietrich Fürst

Preparatory land-use plan

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  1. The preparatory land-use plan as a preliminary urban land-use plan
  2. Importance for urban structural development
  3. Content of the preparatory land-use plan
  4. Functional and spatial partial preparatory land-use plan
  5. Processes
  6. Legal effect, legal nature and legal remedies
Additional literature

The preparatory land-use plan is the preliminary stage of the urban land-use plan and, as a land use strategy, includes the entire municipal territory. In terms of the planning hierarchy, it is given a pivotal function between supra-local spatial planning and local binding land-use planning. In terms of the representations contained within it, by definition it has a steering, developing and organising function.

Stephan Mitschang

Provision of public services

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  1. Basic principles and development
  2. Scope
  3. Provision of public services through spatial planning
  4. Conclusions and outlook
Additional literature

The term ‘provision of public services’ refers to services for the common good in the broader sense: those required by individuals in order to have an acceptable lifestyle and which are subject to regular state influence because of their essentially market-centred provision.

Alexander Milstein

Public participation

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  1. Clarification of the term
  2. The legal framework for public participation
  3. Public participation in select practical fields
  4. Reflection and outlook

Public participation provides for participation ‘by anybody’ in spatially relevant planning and projects. It is anchored in various laws and public programmes. Public participation has become a key procedural element of urban and spatial planning. Recent conflicts in connection with large-scale infrastructure projects and as part of Germany’s energy transition have underscored its importance.

Heidi Sinning

Public space

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  1. Terms and definitions
  2. Functions of public space
  3. Academic discourse
  4. The tasks of planning
Additional literature

The entirety of all urban spaces that are generally accessible and usable by the general public are referred to as public space. Public spaces fulfil important economic, social, ecological, cultural and political functions and are designed and developed by a large number of stakeholders. They are subject to a constant change in function, use and significance.

Ulrich Berding, Klaus Selle

Public transport

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1 Basic characteristics
2 Historical development
3 Role in the transport system
4 Available services and subsystems
5 Providers and market structure
6 Current issues
Additional literature


The key characteristics of public transport are long-term planning, general accessibility and concentrated demand. While its flexibility is limited, it can handle heavy traffic flows efficiently. Services need to be expanded in response to changing levels of demand.

Martin Schiefelbusch