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.



“Raumordnung” (translated in the glossary as “spatial planning”), “Raumentwicklung” (spatial development), and “Raumplanung” (also literally spatial planning) are closely related concepts denoting deliberate human intervention in the development of an area (or “space”).
The traditional term “Raumordnung” refers to the comprehensive, supra-local and superordinate tier of planning the structure and development of space. The attribute “comprehensive” emphasises the function of coordinating and harmonising those elements of the various types of sectoral planning which have spatial impacts. “Supra-local” indicates that the territory affected by this tier of planning extends beyond the boundaries and jurisdictions of local authorities. The “superordinate” character of spatial planning is a reflection of the power of central government to play an allembracing and co-ordinating role with regard to planning by virtue of its sovereign powers for the entire national territory. As a consequence, all public planning authorities are subject to government authority and are thus bound by state spatial planning.