The establishment of equivalent living conditions is a prime guideline of federal and state government in the balanced development of their respective territories, and is entrenched as such in Section 1 (2) of the Federal Spatial Planning Act. The aim is to create and maintain standards of living throughout the country which, in keeping with the local context, are equivalent in value. Equivalent does not mean identical, which is neither practicable nor reasonable. Living conditions involve all spheres of life and hence all infrastructure and economic development. In effect, the policy of equivalent living conditions primarily benefits rural areas, since there is usually a greater backlog of structural development in the country than in urban areas. Basically, however, problematic structures can require action to ensure equivalent living conditions in urban agglomerations, too. The discussion on upholding the principle at a time when public resources are limited is one of the chief current issues in spatial planning. The alternative under debate is to concentrate support in growth cores whose dynamics spread to peripheral regions, thus benefiting them indirectly.
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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