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.


Urban development

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  1. Overview
  2. Definitions
  3. Models
  4. Urban development in East Germany


To illustrate the complex development of cities, this article first outlines the dimensions of urban development and then elucidates the effects of specific processes, such as deindustrialisation and globalisation, on the development of cities. The classic urban models and phase models of urban development will also be covered. The article also briefly considers the issue of disadvantaged urban areas. The last section takes a comparative look at urban development in East and West Germany.

Jürgen Friedrichs

Urban land-use planning

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  1. Concept, functions and demarcation to other planning
  2. History
  3. Urban land-use planning processes
  4. Scope of urban land-use planning
  5. Implementation of urban land-use planning: a comparison of systems
  6. Judicial scrutiny of urban land-use planning
  7. Problems and conflicts, means of conflict resolution, outlook

Additional literature

The term ‘urban land-use planning’ is defined in the Federal Building Code (Baugesetzbuch, BauGB). It includes preliminary urban land-use planning by means of preparatory land-use plans and final, binding planning through binding land-use plans. Together, both types of plan serve to prepare and steer the built use within each municipality. They are adopted by the local councillors or town council in accordance with a procedure prescribed by the Federal Building Code. Both landowners and the building permission authorities are bound by the binding land-use plan, which is adopted as a bye-law. The preparatory land-use plan only has effect within the local authority; binding land-use plans must be developed from the preparatory land-use plan.

Gerd Schmidt-Eichstaedt

Urban planning

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  1. Term and functions
  2. Fields of actions and challenges
  3. Development of urban planning and the professional discipline
  4. Urban planning methods and stakeholders

Urban planning is a cross-sectional discipline for the regulation, steering and development of both urban and rural areas. It is the anticipation of future action and part of political decisionmaking processes as it is based on local planning autonomy, which is guaranteed by Article 28 of the Basic Law (Grundgesetz) of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Elke Pahl-Weber, Frank Schwartze

Urban regeneration

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1 Definition and causes of the need for urban regeneration
2 Guiding principles, strategies and fields of action for urban regeneration
3 Prerequisites for and implementation of urban regeneration measures
4 Participants, their roles and instruments for stakeholder cooperation
5 Current trends
Additional literature

This article first elucidates the understanding of the concept and term urban regeneration1 and the change of key guiding principles, strategies and fields of action which are based on this. This is followed by an overview of the legal framework in the Special Urban Development Law and in particular on the logic of the interplay between participants, instruments and resources. The article concludes by considering current trends in relation to urban regeneration.

Uwe Altrock

Urban research

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  1. Urban research and its subdisciplines
  2. Beginnings and development of urban research
  3. The city as a subject of scientific knowledge
  4. Methodological approaches
  5. The research landscape in Germany
  6. Current issues in urban research

Additional literature

Urban research encompasses a number of scientific disciplines, which theoretically and empirically address the city or elements of it from a socio-economic, functional-spatial and socio-spatial perspective or from a historical viewpoint, particularly in the context of urban sociology, urban geography and urban history. The understanding of the city as a subject of research depends on the perspective of each discipline and is subject to change over the course of time.

Johann Jessen, Stefan Siedentop


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1 Definitions and terms
2 Characteristics
3 Causes of urbanisation
4 Large urban formations
5 Heterogeneity of current urbanisation processes
6 Challenges for planning and policymakers

Additional literature

Urbanisation refers to complex and irreversible processes of social change that are expressed in the growth of urban settlement and economic forms and in large agglomerations. Urbanisation is a driver of economic development, and at the same time is often accompanied by a polarisation of income levels.

Peter Herrle, Josefine Fokdal


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  1. Introduction
  2. Definition of urban design
  3. Political definition
  4. Sociological definition
  5. The ambivalence of urbanity
  6. Urbanity as a promise of emancipation
  7. The topicality of urbanity in urban policy

Urbanity as a term that describes the distinctiveness of the urban in contrast to the rural can also be defined in relation to particular social formations. The urbanity of the ancient polis (a place of leisure) is different from that of the medieval European city (the urban as another society) and the modern city (a place of individualisation). The conclusion considers the Janus face of urbanity, its emancipatory nature and its topicality for urban policy.

Walter Siebel