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.



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  1. Terminology
  2. Theoretical concepts
  3. Types and creation of regions
  4. Regions in spatial planning
Additional literature

The term region is defined and understood quite differently depending on the scientific, political, cultural or socio-economic context. There is consensus that there are no generally applicable ‘universal regions’ and that regions are rather constructs based on specific characteristics and purposes. Regions are created based on empirical and analytic considerations or from a normative and programmatic perspective; likewise, they can be defined according to similarity or interactional principles.

Manfred Sinz

Regional development

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  1. Definition
  2. Context of action and regional development objectives
  3. History
  4. Selected theoretical approaches to regional development
  5. General conditions of regional development
Additional literature

Regional development is a cross-sectional issue, which is relevant at various action levels, from public administration to bottom-up processes. Its impact concerns all levels, from EU target areas to local projects. The quality and duration of the processes vary considerably and are generally managed by governance arrangements.

Martin Heintel

Regional open space strategies

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1 Reasons and relevance
2 Clarification of the term
3 Overview of practical examples
4 Common denominators and potentials
5 Differences in approach and challenges for planning policy
6 Critical outlook

Regional parks, green belts, and other regional open space strategies form part of the regional management of thelandscape in urban regions. This takes place through projectoriented, collaborative processes, with coordinated measures intended to protect open spaces by ensuring their use and enhancing their aesthetic qualities. They thus supplement the formal instruments of regional planning.

Ludger Gailing

Regional planning

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  1. Regional planning as a planning level
  2. Planning regions and regional planning authorities
  3. The regional plan as a central design and coordination instrument of regional planning
  4. Structure of the regional plan
  5. Content and essential matters for regulation in the regional plan
  6. The process for drawing up the regional plan
  7. Formal and informal regional planning
Additional literature

Regional planning is the most specific level of spatial planning at the interface with urban land-use planning by local authorities. The central design and coordination instrument of regional planning is the regional plan. It resolves land use conflicts, specifies the regional objectives for spatial development and integrates the local authority’s concepts for development. With its mediating function and its claim to enable optimised, comprehensive regional development, regional planning has to deal with a high potential for conflict.

Axel Priebs

Renewable energies

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1. Dynamic development and complex governance structures
2. Different renewable energy technologies and the challenges of network development
3. The geography of renewable power plants and associated economic benefits
4. Financing, investor groups, and the significant role played by civic energy
5. Conventional energy providers and their renewable energy strategies in flux
6. Challenges in the interplay between spatial development, stakeholder constellations and planning


The success of renewable energies and their expansion in Germany poses great challenges to policy and society in terms of technology, financing, and acceptance, but offers many opportunities at the same time. The various overlapping constellations of interests and stakeholders on different scales in the area of renewable energies are diverse. They go hand in hand with an altered geography of energy supply and lead to new governance structures.

Pedro Campos Silva, Britta Klagge

Resilience / robustness

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  1. Introduction
  2. The notion of resilience
  3. Resilience and spatial development
  4. Resilience as a strategy to cope with uncertainty in planning and decision-making
  5. Conclusions


This entry describes the concept of resilience as a measure for the ability of a system to resist interferences or changes without the system losing its fundamental qualities and functional characteristics. In this context, the term robustness is understood as a synonym for resilience.

Stefan Greiving

Retail Trade

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1 Terms, parameters, development
2 Location and land development for the stationary retail trade
3 The spatial relevance of the retail trade
4 Policies relevant to retail trade and spatial planning objectives and city planning goals in relation to the retail     trade and supply structures

Additional literature                                                                                                                                             

This article is concerned with the conceptual fundamentals and parameters of the retail trade, and with developments that are described using selected types of operation in the stationary retail trade and online trade. It will also touch on the spatial impact of the retail trade, and on the scope for shaping this through spatial planning and city planning. In this regard, the significant aspects of the political and legal framework on European, national, federal, and municipal levels will be presented.

Hildegard Zeck, Stephan Löb


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  1. Origin and development of the concept
  2. Reurbanisation as an urban development process – empirical findings
  3. Causes
  4. Concluding remarks
Additional literature

Reurbanisation describes a developmental phase of agglomeration areas in Western industrialised countries in which the urban core and inner cities regain social, cultural, and economic dynamics through the growth of the residential population and/or jobs. Explanations of reurbanisation refer to a complex interlocking of demographic, economic, social, and political factors.

Johann Jessen, Stefan Siedentop

Rural areas

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  1. Introduction
  2. Structural change in rural areas
  3. Definition and typology of rural areas
  4. Development of rural areas as a challenge for spatial planning and regional policy
  5. Outlook
Additional literature

Rural areas in Germany are starkly differentiated according to their different functions and polarised between economically prospering and structurally weak areas. This results in divergent requirements for the strategies and instruments of spatial planning and regional policy. The central objectives are the equivalence of living conditions, sustainable development and the engagement of the various stakeholders against the backdrop of European integration.

Ingo Mose