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.

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The German versions of all articles are available here.



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Spatial segregation can be understood as the disproportionate distribution of various elements or types across individual parts of a larger area. It is said to be disproportionate because the spatial distribution of a group (or the use of a resource) does not correspond to that of another group. The elements and types in question can encompass social classes, ethnic groups, religious groups or indeed doctors with different specialisations or different types of housing; it can also refer to the use of resources.

Jürgen Friedrichs


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  1. Conceptual aspects
  2. The expansion of services
  3. The spatial distribution of services
  4. The economic and political significance of services

Services shape the economic structure and working landscape of industrialised countries. Services are characterised by the fact that their provision depends on the cooperation of the recipient of the service. The causes for their expansion are diverse and can be attributed to their specific conditions of supply and demand. Business services are especially dynamic. Services also exhibit a pronounced spatial concentration. In addition, certain services are of particular importance for the competitiveness of regional economies.

Franz-Josef Bade

Settlement/settlement structure

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  1. Settlement and settlement structure in specialist terminology and everyday language
  2. The term ‘settlement’
  3. Dimensions of settlement structure
  4. Typology and classification of settlements
  5. Present and future development of settlements and their structure
  6. Concluding remarks: the topicality of the term ‘settlement’

Urban and spatial development issues cannot be addressed without taking into account settlements and settlement structures. Thus, the latter do not constitute their own field of research. If explicit reference is made to the term ‘settlement’, the focus is usually either on distinguishing types of settlement or characterising the inner structure of the spaces created by people. It is, however, proving increasingly difficult to distinctly classify settlement types and settlement structure patterns.

Henning Nuissl

Social change

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  1. Definition and principal theories
  2. Ongoing trends in social mobilisation and modernisation
  3. Social change under digitalisation and globalisation
  4. Non-technological sources of social change

2 The concept and term ‘social change’ expresses the fact that social structures are in a constant state of flux. However, they do not change concordantly; the political, legal, and cultural spheres (what Karl Marx called the ‘superstructure’) generally experience a cultural lag (Ogburn 1967) relative to technological developments and innovations in production.

Bernhard Schäfers


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  1. Introduction
  2. The everyday notion of space
  3. Scientific concepts of space
  4. Space in spatial planning
  5. Concluding remarks
Additional literature

Despite its constitutive significance for spatial development and spatial planning, the term ‘space’ used in these areas varies considerably as to its meaning. This corresponds with the diversity of the semantics of space in the space-related sciences. In addition to the everyday notion of space, this article will differentiate between and examine seven concepts of space ranging from philosophy to the social sciences.

Hans Heinrich Blotevogel

Spatial development

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  1. Definition of terms
  2. Theoretical assessment
  3. From spatial planning to spatial development
  4. Instruments of spatial development
  5. Conclusions and reflection
Additional literature

In recent decades, the focus in spatial planning has shifted increasingly to its development function. This leads to new forms of stakeholder cooperation and spatial constellations, which frequently focus on functional rather than territorial distinctions. Spatial development has generated numerous instruments to expand the existing range of instruments of formal spatial planning.

Jörg Knieling

Spatial planning

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  1. Introduction
  2. The multi-level system of spatial planning
  3. Spatial planning and spatially relevant sectoral planning
  4. Spatial planning and spatial development
  5. Conclusions

Additional literature

Spatial planning (Raumplanung) is the public task of coordinating the demands for the use of spaces in an interdisciplinary, integrated way. It is formalised through the multi-level system of comprehensive spatial planning and has always been closely interrelated with spatially relevant sectoral planning. In addition, the dovetailing with spatial development based on soft steering approaches is gaining importance.

Rainer Danielzyk, Angelika Münter

Spatial planning (Raumordnung)

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  1. Term, functions, and the history of spatial planning
  2. The organisation of spatial planning
  3. Instruments
  4. The coordinating duty of spatial planning over the course of time
  5. General principles, plan contents and current themes in spatial planning
  6. Spatial planning research
  7. Outlook
Additional literature

This article starts by discussing the term spatial planning and describing its organisation on the various levels (European, federal, state and regional level) and their most important instruments. The change in the understanding of the coordination of spatial planning will then be discussed in detail. Finally, it will address the current key themes in spatial planning and the contributions of spatial planning research.

Christian Diller

Spatial sciences

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  1. Space – a subject of multidisciplinary research
  2. Geography and the planning sciences as solitaires among the spatial sciences
  3. Conclusion
Additional literature

A broad range of sectoral disciplines and specialisations are engaged with space-related issues. In each case, they focus their research on analytically different dimensions of space, even though in reality these dimensions are interrelated and interdependent, and mutually permeate and/or overlap each other.

Heiderose Kilper

Special Urban Development Law

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  1. Urban regeneration
  2. Urban development measures
  3. Urban redevelopment
  4. Socially Integrative City
  5. Private initiatives for urban development
  6. Preservation statute
  7. Urban development enforcement orders
  8. Social plan and hardship allowance (sections 180, 181)
  9. Tenancies and leaseholds
  10. Urban structural measures connected with measures to improve agricultural structures

Additional literature

The regulations of Special Urban Development Law comprise urban structural measures for implementing special urban design objectives, thereby supplementing the laws on city planning. They contain essential elements of modern urban development law, primarily to maintain and renew cities and municipalities, but also to reconfigure residential areas.

Michael Krautzberger

Strategic Planning

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    1. Strategic planning in urban and spatial development
    2. Conceptual foundations of strategic planning
    3. Application examples
    4. Evaluation of strategic plans
    5. Conclusions


In local and regional planning practice, a return to the need for a methodical, integrated approach can be observed. The evident disadvantages of project-oriented planning give rise to a debate about the revival of strategic planning. The current turn to strategy should be seen as a response to the deficits in incremental planning through projects.

Thorsten Wiechmann


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As a societal structure and guiding principle, subsidiarity emphasises the precedence of individual self-determination and personal social responsibility. Larger communities or state institutions should only help individuals or smaller communities to help themselves if they are unable to cope.

Thomas Döring


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  1. Introduction
  2. The status of suburbanisation in Germany
  3. Suburbanisation – discourse and policy perspectives
  4. Outlook
Additional literature

This article discusses suburbanisation as a determining element of spatial development in Germany and Central Europe since the postwar era. To that end, suburban spaces are treated as a component of metropolitan regions. In addition to providing an overview of the status of research into suburbanisation, the article will address issues related to discourse, policy, and planning.

Markus Hesse


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  1. The term and its origin
  2. Sustainable spatial development
  3. Challenges for spatial science and spatial planning
Additional literature

After looking back at the early context in which the concept of sustainability arose in forestry, the background to international sustainability policy is elucidated, against which the debates on sustainable spatial development in Germany are presented. Finally, the challenges for spatial science as well as the planning science and planning practice are summarised through the commitment to the key objective of sustainable development.

Sabine Hofmeister