Green belts and smaller, supplementary green breaks and divides are tools in regional planning to safeguard open spaces. A regional green belt is a continuous expanse of land reserved for ecological functions or recreational purposes and accordingly forbidden for settlement or other functionally incompatible uses. Green breaks or divides are smaller protected open spaces areas close to settlements to be kept free of development for local recreational purposes and in order to break up densely built-up areas. Green breaks should link up with the open countryside and act as a climatic corridor and habitat, as both refuge and exchange area for plants and animals.
Also referred to as "green space management plan": Green Space Management refers to all landscape conservation and nature protec-tion measures in urban and village areas. It is a municipal responsibility. Green Space Management is tasked with the spatial and functional management and safeguarding of all green areas and elements. Consideration is to be given to the rela-tionship of the green areas and elements to one another and the built fabric in connection to urban development, as necessary for the mental and physical well-being of residents.
Green spaces policy (also referred to as "green structures policies") are framed by local authorities and encompass the entire range of landscape management and nature conservation measures for cities, towns, and villages.
In the framework of urban development, the purpose of the green structures policy is to organise and protect all green spaces and green elements, in both spatial and functional terms, in relation to one another and to physical structures in the pursuit of intellectual and physical wellbeing. The green structures plan is the instrument through which green structures policy is implemented. It is a sectoral plan for nature conservation and landscape management with the status of a binding land-use plan, and consists of plans and written text setting out measures and policy goals. The plan has a number of functions. It serves as a site-related design plan for inner-city green spaces, as an instrument to safeguard open space, as a planning instrument to structure and assign functions to areas on which building is not permitted, and as a planning instrument to implement the goals and principles of nature conservation and landscape management. Rules governing green structures plans are to be found in a number of state nature conservation acts.
Pursuant to the Federal Spatial Planning Act and in collaboration with state spatial planning authorities, the competent federal ministry develops guiding principles on the basis of spatial structure plans for the spatial development of the country as a whole or for areas extending beyond the borders of single states. These guiding principles are informal in nature and are intended to help specify the principles of spatial planning with regard to territorial and substantive scope for the purpose of coordinating federal government and EU planning and activities. In a discussion process, the guiding principles are to be adapted and updated to satisfy current conditions. Guiding principles have been formulated and cartographically visualised in, for example, the 1993 “Guidelines for Regional Policy” and the 1996 “Framework for Action in Spatial Planning Policy.“ In June, 2006, the Conference of Ministers for Spatial Planning (MKRO) adopted the “Guiding Principles and Strategies for Spatial Development in Germany” to provide guidance for joint federal/state action. The three guiding principles of “growth and innovation”, “securing the provision of essential public services”, and “conserving resources, developing cultural landscapes” describe spatial planning priorities for the coming years.
Models for urban development are projections; they formulate objectives and principles for action without prescribing the final result. They are informal tools for orientation, coordination, and motivation. They come in various forms:
programmes and manifestos, statements of principle and general plans, quality standards and procedural concepts. Such models have been an explicit subject of debate in Germany only since the Second World War, where the term arose in connection with the reconstruction of wardamaged cities. Since the mid-1990s, the issue of models has experienced a renaissance after ttracting little attention during the 1970s and 1980s. This new boom is the result of economic and societal structural changes and the uncertain prospects they have engendered. The urban development models developed during the first years of the Federal Republic were still authoritarian and normative. Present-day models are based on planning policy discourse between societal actors.
Models are now being generated or relaunched at all levels of spatial planning – district, city, and region (→ guiding principles for spatial development). City authorities use models as tools for clarifying fundamental development perspectives and for positioning themselves in the European city network. Furthermore, precise models provide the basis for many urban marketing concepts, which a large number of cities in the 1990s hoped would bring results in intermunicipal competition. One key question is whether the model of the European city can still point the way for urban development and urban policy. Since models reflect points of view, values, and the state of the art of the period when they are developed, they can apply only for a limited period of time. They have to be updated and adapted to meet changing conditions and values. Communication is the focus. The loss of certainty about the future has brought greater openness in thinking about what is desirable, and greaterw illingness to take risks and to make more radical course corrections.