An (urban) agglomeration (largely synonymous with conurbation, metropolitan area) is a concentration of settlements consisting of interlinked and interdependent communities distinguished from surrounding areas by greater settlement density and a higher proportion of built development. As a rule, agglomerations form around one or more core cities surrounded by a heavily builtup inner rings of suburbs and geographically more extensive, partly rural catchment areas. The core or central city with the suburban belt is referred to as an urban region. Major cities with international status and their extensive catchment areas are termed metropolitan regions. With a high concentration of housing and workplaces, urban agglomerations drive economic development and are loci of cultural life. They are accordingly important for the country as a whole. In terms of spatial category, agglomerations or conurbations are the type of area with the highest use density, being the opposite pole to sparsely population rural areas. Communication axes between agglomerations, which partly traverse rural areas, are termed corridors.
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.
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