The glossary

Planning terms are often rooted in the administrative and planning culture of a particular country and cannot be straightforwardly translated.

The English-language glossary presented here is intended to offer a translation and elucidation of central terms in the German planning system to a non-German speaking readership in the interests of facilitating discourse.

Our intention is to ensure as much consistency as possible in the key terms used throughout this platform and the publications of the ARL that can be found here.

The definitions used are based on those found in the national glossary for Germany, which was elaborated in the framework of the BSR INTERREG III B project COMMIN.

Click here to perform a search based on the English term.

Hier können sie vom deutschen Begriff ausgehend suchen.


Kommunale PlanungshoheitLocal planning autonomy

Local or municipal planning autonomy refers to the local planning rights constitutionally guaranteed to local authorities. The basis for planning autonomy is the constitutional right of municipal selfgovernment. The constitution of the Weimar Republic, Article 28 of the Basic Law, and the constitutions of the West German states have entrenched the system of local self-government. Article 28 of the Basic Law lays down that municipalities must be guaranteed the right to regulate all local affairs on their own responsibility within the limits prescribed by the laws. The Federal Building Code accordingly specifies that land-use plans are to be prepared by the municipality on their own responsibility.

Kreisfreie StadtCounty-free city

The “kreisfreie Stadt,” (county-free city, independent city, county borough or urban district) a city that constitutes a county in its own right. In addition to municipal functions, it performs all county functions itself. The average minimum population for countyfree cities is about 100,000, although the figure is much lower in some states and higher in others. 114 cities in German have county-free status (status 2003).