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.


Land consolidationFlurbereinigung

The purpose of realigning or replotting agricultural land holdings is to promote efficient agriculture and forestry by assembling economically viable units of land where the land in single ownership may be dispersed and thus not conducive to efficient management. The realignment (or consolidation) process includes all the measures needed to improve the basic conditions for economic operations, to reduce unnecessary labour, and to facilitate economic activity (e.g. by laying out paths, tracks and ditches).

In the course of time, the original purpose of realigning agricultural land holdings has been reappraised and modified. Realignment is today seen as an integral means of re-ordering plot boundaries in rural areas and has an impact on planning and for the general concept of land reallocation which extend well beyond the agricultural sector. Nowadays, realignment may be undertaken for purposes of landscape conservation and nature protection, flood protection and village regeneration.

Land managementFlächenmanagement

Land management is the term generally given to the combination of governmental and consensual tools for ensuring that land is used in a manner that conserves resources and satisfying needs. Land management seeks to combine these tools into an integrated planning process in the pursuit of a sustainable land-use and settlement policy. Adequate building land is made available to meet needs, while the development of hitherto open spaces is reduced. In view of progressive land take in one place while large areas fall vacant elsewhere, a frugal use needs to be made of land at all levels of spatial planning (“land-resource policy”). In its National Sustainability Strategy, the federal government calls for the reduction of land take for settlement and transport purposes. At the state and local government levels, information systems (registers) are to be developed as a substantive prerequisite for careful and frugal land management.

One aim of land management is to establish a closed cycle system, a cyclical process of planning, use, discontinuation of use, vacancy, and re-use. A key substrategy is land recycling, finding new uses for sites that are no longer or not optimally used. The inner development of a community is thus given priority over outer development, limiting settlement sprawl.

Land registerGrundbuch

The public land register maintained by the local court (Amtsgericht) contains entries for all of the properties within the jurisdiction of the court including details of all legal relationships attaching to each property, e.g. details of ownership and of any charges on the property. The entry (or “sheet”) for each property records changes in ownership as well as any new charges on the property. The land register serves to safeguard real estate transactions; everyone can rely on the completeness and correctness of entries.

Landscape planningLandschaftsplanung

View in Compendium

Landscape planning was formally introduced as at the federal level in 1976 in the Federal Nature Conservation Act on the model of nature conservation legislation already in force in a number of states. It is a cross-sectional planning instrument for attaining the goals of nature conservation and landscape management in both settled and non-settled areas. Like comprehensive spatial planning, landscape planning covers the entire territory, being divided into three levels:

  1. landscape programme (dealing with the territory of a state),
  2. landscape outline plan (dealing with a region),
  3. landscape plan (dealing with the territory of a municipality).

The term “landscape planning” is also used to refer to the various processes leading to the production of a landscape programme, a landscape outline plan, or a landscape plan. The landscape programme covers the entire territory of a state and sets out supra-local requirements and the measures to be undertaken in the interests of nature conservation and landscape management in accordance with the principles and goals of spatial planning. However, the Federal Nature Conservation Act allows a good deal of latitude regarding the precise manner in which landscape planning is to be organised; this has in fact allowed some states (including the city-states) to dispense with separate landscape programmes.

The landscape programme covers sections of the state territory (regions), setting out supra-local requirements and the measures to be undertaken in the interests of nature conservation and landscape management in accordance with the goals of spatial planning. The landscape plan, which consists of textual and a cartographic components, lays down local requirements and the measures for attaining the goals of nature conservation and landscape management. Landscape plans are to be prepared whenever and wherever this is in the interests of nature conservation and landscape management. Under the Federal Nature Conservation Act, landscape plans are required to describe and assess the current and desirable future state of nature and landscapes and to lay down the necessary measures to be taken. In preparing land-use plans, full account has to be taken of landscape plans during weighing public and private interests stipulated for urban land-use plans.

Law relating to the procurement of planning servicesVergaberecht für Planungsdienstleistungen

In keeping with European law, public contracts are awarded in accordance with differentiated statutory regulatory regimes. This is also the case with regard to planning services. These regimes include the Contracting Procedures for Building Works (VOB), the Contracting Procedures for Services (VOL), the Contracting Procedures for Professional Services (VOF), the Regulation of the Award of Public Contracts (VgV), and the Fee Schedule for Architects and Engineers (HOAI). The VOB regulates contracting for building services. Building services are works of every type by which a physical structure or installation is produced, maintained, altered, or removed. Planning service contracts, in contrast, are mostly awarded in accordance with the VOF or VOL. The VOF (Contracting Procedures for Professional Services) applies with respect to contracts for services rendered in the course of independent professional activities or offered in competition with free-lance professionals.

The VOF applies when the contract value reaches or exceeds a certain level. The VOL (Contracting Rules for Services) applies with regard to supplies and services that are not within the ambit of the VOB or the VOF. They are also applicable for services rendered by freelance professionals or in competition with such and which involve tasks which cannot be unambiguously and exhaustively specified in advance, and when the threshold contract values laid down by the Regulation on the Award of Public Contracts are reached or exceeded. The Regulation on the Award of Public Contracts 2003 contains a number of provisions on the procedure to be followed in awarding and reviewing public contracts over the threshold values in Europe-wide contracting. The regulation obliges the contracting authority to apply the procedure above a certain contract value. The Fee Schedule for Architects and Engineers (HOAI) governs the remuneration of architectural and engineering services. It contains rules on calculating fees on the basis of basic services and special services.

Local planning autonomyKommunale Planungshoheit

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.