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.


Open-space structureFreiraumstruktur

The term open-space structure refers to the quantitative and qualitative pattern or distribution of land uses and functions in a near-natural state. It is one of the principles of spatial planning (Federal Spatial Planning Act – Section 2 (2) No.3) that the open-space structure of the national territory be protected and developed. The importance of open spaces for productive land use, the water balance, fauna and flora and for the climate is to be guaranteed or their function restored. Provision is to be made for economic and social uses of open spaces by taking their ecological functions into consideration. The designation of biosphere reserves and the concept of habitat network systems are ways to conserve open space structure.


An ordinance is a general regulation issued by a governmental authority pursuant to a statute with the same binding effect as primary law. Ordinances in this sense (Rechtsverordnungen) are to be distinguished from administrative regulations which apply only with regard to subordinate public authorities and require no statutory basis.