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.

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P

ParcelGrundstück

"Grundstück" is a very broad term, to be translated, depending on context, as “property,” ”site,” “parcel,” “lot,” “plot,” etc. Common to all these concepts is that of a bounded and cohesive piece of land capable of being put to use for some purpose. Every property is numbered and recorded at the public land registry on a separate property sheet.

Plan preparation and public participation procedureAufstellungs- und Beteiligungsverfahren

One particularly rigorous procedure (since it is enshrined in the Federal Building Code) is that governing the preparation, amendment, and repeal of urban land-use plans. The various stages - initiation of the procedure, participation, public display, adoption and approval of the plan (e.g., urban land-use plan) - are prescribed by law.
The procedure for public participation in the preparation of urban land-use plans is also standardised; this is a two-stage procedure. The first stage provides for the public to be informed at the earliest possible date through public advertisement of the general aims and purposes of the plan and of alternative proposals for the re-organisation or development of the planning area, and of the foreseeable impacts of the plan; at this point members of the public are given the opportunity to express their views and to gain further clarification. In a second step, draft plans and the accompanying explanatory memorandum, are placed on public display for a period of one month. During this period, members of the public are entitled to voice any objections to the plan or to make recommendations. The municipality is subsequently required to consider these objections and recommendations and to communicate the outcome of its deliberations to the people concerned.

Planning agency/authorityPlanungsträger

Planning agencies are institutions vested with competence for planning at the various levels of comprehensive and sectoral planning by federal or state law. Public planning authorities are the public authorities and agencies responsible for spatial planning and which thus determine the use of land and influence the spatial development of an area.

Planning approvalPlanfeststellung

Planning approval procedure is the key tool in sectoral planning law. The purpose of a planning approval procedure is to determine whether a particular development project with spatial impacts (mostly infrastructural projects) is to be permitted to proceed. This procedure involves weighing and balancing both the interests of the developer and any public or private interests which might be affected by the development project. It concludes with a legally binding decision. Planning approval procedure is governed by federal and state administrative procedural law and is very similar throughout the country. Planning approval includes all of the other required decisions by public authorities (e.g., licences, permits, concessions, consent), and regulates all public-law relationships between the developer and those affected by the project. Planning approval is therefore a comprehensive concentrative and formative process. The outcome of planning approval procedure is the planning approval decision. In addition to planning approval procedure, sectoral planning law permits sectoral area designations (spatially relevant sectoral planning).

Planning autonomyPlanungshoheit

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.

Planning lawPlanungsrecht

The panoply of legal foundations governing planning is usually divided into two categories: general planning law (planning and building law), and sectoral planning law. Planning and building law contains provisions dealing with both cross-sectoral, mostly coordinating planning and with building. Sectoral planning law regulates the functions and responsibilities of sectoral authorities, and, in particular, formal planning approval procedures for installations or structures planned and realised by these authorities.
Planning and building law includes spatial planning law and public building law. Spatial planning law governs comprehensive (i.e. supra-sectoral) spatial planning beyond urban land-use planning at the federal, state and regional levels. One of the purposes of spatial planning law is to set principles and goals for structuring and developing an area, and for implementing such projects. It also coordinates the measures of spatial planning bodies. Planning with an impact on spatial structures include spatial structure plans, projects and other measures by means of which land is used or the spatial development or function of an area is influenced, including the use of earmarked public funds.
More specifically, spatial planning law is laid down: as federal spatial planning by the Federal Spatial Planning Act, as state and regional planning by the Federal Spatial Planning Act and, in particular, by state spatial planning acts. Public building law can be divided into planning law (urban development law) and building regulations (building control law). Whereas planning law is governed by federal legislation, building regulations are governed by state legislation.

Planning lawBauplanungsrecht

Planning law, also referred to as urban development law regulates the use of land. In particular, it governs whether and how a site can be developed. The power to enact planning law rests with the federation, the most important plank of planning law being the Federal Building Code. Other important sources of planning law are the Federal Land Utilisation Ordinance and the Plan Notation Ordinance.

Planning orderPlanungsgebot

To ensure the satisfactory performance of its functions, state spatial planning has a range of tools at its disposal over and above programmes and plans which it needs to secure, coordinate and enforce the requirements of state spatial planning. State spatial planning instruments (programmes and plans) are supplemented by a number of further instruments. They can be divided into three groups.
1. Administrative state spatial planning instruments are the compliance and adaptation requirement laid down in the Federal Spatial Planning Act, the Federal Building Code, and in state spatial planning acts. They include:

  • The prohibition of plans and measures conflicting with the goals of spatial planning (Section 12 of the Federal Spatial Planning Act and state spatial planning acts; the prohibition may be for a limited or unlimited period).
  • Adaptation and planning orders for urban land-use planning (obligation to adapt urban land-use plans to the goals of spatial planning, Section 1 (4) of the Federal Building Code and state spatial planning acts).
  • Derogation procedures (Section 11 of the Federal Spatial Planning Act, allowing deviation from the goals of spatial planning in individual cases).

2. State spatial planning coordination tools have the task of coordinating the numerous supralocal projects of the various public and private planning agencies that affect spatial structures:

  • Spatial planning procedure (see under this heading),
  • Simplified state spatial planning coordination procedures (differing from state to state),
  • State spatial planning report.

3. Obligation to provide information and reporting (“spatial planning through information”):

  • Notification and information duties (between federal and state governments and within states) ,
  • Spatial monitoring and spatial planning register (see spatial monitoring) ,
  • Spatial planning report / state development reports (reports on the status of spatial planning, goal attainment, spatial development trends and major planning projects).

In addition to these formal instruments for realising spatial planning there are informal tools such as regional development concepts/strategies, city networks, and contractual agreements for the preparation and realisation of spatial structure plans.

Planting orderPflanzgebot

An urban development enforcement order is a local authority provision obliging a property owner to undertake a building measure. The Federal Building Code (Sections 172, 176-179) lists the following urban-development enforcement orders: preservation order, building order, modernisation and refurbishment order, planting order, and dedevelopment and de-sealing order (formerly demolition order. The prerequisite for issuing orders of this type as instruments to support implementation of a binding land-use plan is that there is an urgent need for such measures on urban development grounds. The measures are to be discussed beforehand with the affected owners, tenants, and leaseholders. They are, however, obliged to tolerate the measures, but legal remedies are available to them which can delay the actual implementation of the order for years. As a rule the local authority will therefore seek a solution acceptable to all sides before they institute administrative execution proceedings.

 

Preparatory land-use planFlächennutzungsplan

View in Compendium

In the wording of the Federal Building Code: “The preparatory land-use plan shall represent in basic form the types of land uses envisaged for the entire municipal territory in accordance with the intended urban development which is proposed to correspond to the anticipated needs of the municipality.” The preparatory land-use plan thus sets out the municipality’s proposals for future land use and makes preliminary representations on the use of plots within the municipal territory for built development or for other uses. Preparatory land-use plans identify, for example, general land-use areas (Bauflächen) and specific land-use areas (Baugebiete) (cf. Land Utilisation Ordinance); land for public amenities, green spaces, agricultural and woodland areas. The preparatory land-use plan is binding only on the municipality: although it obliges the municipality to implement the plan as adopted, it does not have any direct legal effects vis-à-vis the general public. For sections of the municipal territory it can be filled in by means of binding land-use plans which are binding on everyone.

Special types of preparatory land-use plan are the partial, joint, regional preparatory land-use plans. The substantive preparatory land-use plan allows the municipality to concentrate privileged development projects (cf. outer zone) in specific locations, with the exception of agricultural and forestry operations. The designation of concentration zones in the preparatory landuse plan is similar to the “suitable development area” model in the spatial structure plan.
Contiguous municipalities may and ought to prepare a joint preparatory land-use plan if their development is largely subject to common conditions and requirements, or where a joint preparatory land-use plan would facilitate an equitable balance between their various concerns. The plan can be repealed, amended, or supplemented by the participating municipalities only jointly.
A regional preparatory landuse plan also function as a regional plan and a joint preparatory land-use plan for the participating local authorities. The Federal Spatial Planning Act empowers states to prepare and introduce regional preparatory land-use plans in conurbations or where the spatial structure of the region is characterised by other interdependencies. It must conform with the procedurala nd substantive requirements of both the Federal Building Code and the relevant state spatial planning act. This new type of plan dispenses with one level of planning by combining regional planning and municipal preparatory urban land-use planning.

Principles of spatial planningGrundsätze der Raumordnung

The principles of spatial planning are general precepts concerning the development, structuring, and securing of spatial entities to be taken into accountin weighing up interests and making discretionary decisions. These principles of spatial planning applicable throughout the country are set out under 15 points in Section 2 (2) of the Federal Spatial Planning Act. They are to be applied in the pursuit of sustainable spatial development, giving concrete form to this guideline, and providing general ideas for attaining it. At the state level, these principles are worked out in greater detail and adapted to the conditions prevailing in the given state. The states are entitled to adopt additional spatial planning principles, provided they do not conflict with the principles laid down in the Federal Spatial Planning Act. The states are required to weigh and balance the principles of spatial planning and to implement them territorially and substantively as goals of spatial planning in spatial structure plans.

Priority areaVorranggebiet

Priority areas (or sites) are areas in which priority is given to specific functions or uses which are of special significance for overall spatial structure, and where any other uses with spatial impacts which are not compatible with the designated priority functions, uses or goals are excluded. Priority areas reflect the goals of spatial planning; designation of a priority area represents the binding outcome of a weighing process and rules out any further room for discretion on the function to which the site is to be put (though not on other details). Priority areas of different types are only allowed to overlap where this does not give rise to conflicts of use.

Provision of essential public servicesDaseinsvorsorge

The term "provision of essential public services" refers to governmental provision of essential social, cultural, and economic goods and services for the population. This includes public infrastructural facilities for the general public – traffic and transport facilities, gas, water and electricity supply, refuse collection, sewage disposal, educational and cultural institutions, hospitals, cemeteries, etc. Public service provision in this sense is among the most important functions local authorities perform on their own responsibility.

Provision of local public infrastructureErschließung

Even if all other planning regulations are complied with, development projects can be permitted only where there is certainty that the site will be properly serviced and integrated by the provision of the necessary public infrastructure. The infrastructure required includes roads and utilities (electricity, water, sewage). Responsibility for the provision of the necessary infrastructure rests with the municipality. This financial burden on municipalities is eased by service connection charges payable by property owners to share the cost of land improvement for initial provision, particularly of vehicular and pedestrian infrastructure (roads, pathways, squares). The Federal Building Code does not provide for property owners to bear any of the costs of servicing the land, i.e. connecting it to utilities; this may, however, be required under state legislation. Under section 124 of the Federal Building Code, the municipality may contract out land improvement to third parties.

Public agenciesTräger öffentlicher Belange

The Federal Building code regulates procedure for public authority participation in urban land-use planning in a similar manner to public participation, since planning can affect both matters falling within the remit of public authorities, agencies, public associations, and neighbouring municipalities and the public interest. Procedures provide for a complete account of interests affected by planning and prepare the process of weighing (or balancing) public and private interests. The law requires two-phase (early and formal) participation by public authorities and other public agencies, i.e., institutions to which public sector tasks have been assigned by law or pursuant to a law. In the first phase, public authorities and other agencies whose areas of responsibility are or could be affected by planning are to be informed at the earliest possible date about the general aims and purposes of the planning, about alternatives for the reorganisation or development of an area, and about the potential impacts of planning, and are to be requested to state their views. In the second phase, public authorities are to comment on the draft plan and on the explanatory memorandum. These comments are to be limited to the remit of the public authority in question and are to be delivered within a month.

Public authorities participationBehördenbeteiligung

The Federal Building code regulates procedure for public authority participation in urban land-use planning in a similar manner to public participation, since planning can affect both matters falling within the remit of public authorities, agencies, public associations, and neighbouring municipalities and the public interest. Procedures provide for a complete account of interests affected by planning and prepare the process of weighing (or balancing) public and private interests. The law requires two-phase (early and formal) participation by public authorities and other public agencies, i.e. institutions to which public sector tasks have been assigned by law or pursuant to a law. In the first phase, public authorities and other agencies whose areas of responsibility are or could be affected by planning are to be informed at the earliest possible date about the general aims and purposes of the planning, about alternatives for the reorganisation or development of an area, and about the potential impacts of planning, and are to be requested to state their views. In the second phase, public authorities are to comment on the draft plan and on the explanatory memorandum. These comments are to be limited to the remit of the public authority in question and are to be delivered within a month.

Public participationÖffentlichkeitsbeteiligung

View in Compendium

Participation in spatial planning by the general public is intended to ensure that all conceivable interests are given due regard, and takes into account that the addressees of planning are more likely to accept it if they can identify with its content. The public can be involved in many ways. Participation in urban land-use planning is stipulated in the Federal Building Code, and public involvement in state and regional planning is required under the Federal Spatial Planning Act and state spatial planning acts. Moreover, the public is required to be involved in spatial planning in the context of environmental assessment (EA) (Federal Building Code, Federal Spatial Planning Act) and environmental impact assessment (EIA). Local authorities are required to advertise the aims and purposes of planning measures and to provide opportunities for the general public to be heard.
Participation takes place in two stages. The first provides for the public to be informed at the earliest possible date through public advertisement of the general aims and purposes of the plan and of alternative proposals for the reorganisation or development of the planning area, and of the foreseeable impacts of the plan; at this point members of the public are to be given the opportunity to express their views and to gain further clarification. In the second stage, draft plans and explanatory memorandum are placed on public display for a period of one month. During this period, members of the public are entitled to voice any objections to the plan or to make recommendations. In state and regional planning, the states determine in their state spatial planning acts whether and to what extent the public is to be involved in preparing spatial structure plans and in spatial planning procedures. Participation is most intensive in informal planning approaches.

Public participation procedureBeteiligungsverfahren

A procedure is a formalised sequence of actions (i.e., with clearly defined, prescribed stages). All types of spatial planning (e.g., state spatial planning, regional planning, urban land-use planning and sectoral planning) are subject to certain procedures governing both the preparation of plans and participation. There are also statutory procedures for approving certain types of project. They include planning approval laid down in administrative procedure legislation, and sometime in sectoral planning laws.
State spatial planning acts set forth the procedures for preparing state development plans and programmes, as well as regional plans. The framework is set by the Federal Spatial Planning Act (e.g., Section 9 ( 4)).

One particularly rigorous procedure (since it is enshrined in the Federal Building Code) is that governing the preparation, amendment, and repeal of urban land-use plans. The various stages – initiation of the procedure, participation, public display, adoption and approval of the plan (e.g., urban land-use plan) – are prescribed by law. The procedure for public participation in the preparation of urban land-use plans is also standardised; this is a two stage procedure. The first stage provides for the public to be informed at the earliest possible date through public advertisement of the general aims and purposes of the plan and of alternative proposals for the re-organisation or development of the planning area, and of the foreseeable impacts of the plan; at this point members of the public are given the opportunity to express their views and to gain further clarification. In a second step, draft plans and the accompanying explanatory memorandum, are placed on public display for a period of one month. During this period, members of the public are entitled to voice any objections to the plan or to make recommendations. The municipality is subsequently required to consider these objections and recommendations and to communicate the outcome of its deliberations to the people concerned.

Public planning agency/authorityöffentliche|r Planungsträger

Planning agencies are institutions vested with competence for planning at the various levels of comprehensive and sectoral planning by federal or state law. Public planning authorities are the public authorities and agencies responsible for spatial planning and which thus determine the use of land and influence the spatial development of an area.

Public private partnershipPublic Private Partnership

Public private partnership (PPP) is the term applied to a form of organised cooperation between institutions and persons from various areas of the public and private sectors. The purpose of such partnerships is the joint performance of urban development and regional development functions that none of the parties involved can handle alone and which are of benefit to all concerned.
Both the increasing privatisation of public enterprises and the growing trend towards carrying out complex projects on a one-stop basis have made public-private partnerships an increasingly important strategy. They are used for a wide range of local government functions and in many policy areas. PPPs are entrusted with local utilities, urban development, housing, environmental protection, and cultural, recreational, and sports facilities.
There are three types of PPP:
- informal cooperation between local government executives,
- cooperation under contract,
- quasi-public enterprises (especially in the utility sector).

The most frequent form of PPP is a cooperative arrangement regulated by contract. Examples are the operator model (operator contract), the leasing model (leasing contract), management contracts, urban-development contracts, and project and infrastructure plans. The operator model provides for a private entity to act in agreement with the municipality in setting up or rehabilitating and operating a facility of which it is the owner but which is put at the service of the municipality as a public facility. Management contracts entrust the running of public buildings and facilities to private entities. Municipal leasing models provide for private investors to finance and build infrastructural facilities or buildings, which are then leased to the municipality.

Purely residential areareines Wohngebiet

The Land Utilisation Ordinance classifies types of building use.
It distinguises two categories:
First, land-use areas for general types of use:

  • housing land
  • mixed building land
  • industrial and commercial land
  • special building land

This rough classification is to be used only in the preparatory land-use plan.
Second, land-use areas for specific types of building use:

  • small holding areas
  • purely residential areas
  • general residential areas
  • special residential areas
  • village areas
  • mixed areas
  • core areas
  • commercial areas
  • industrial areas
  • special areas.

These specific land-use areas can be designated in both the preparatory and the binding land-use plan and are finergrained and more detailed categories. The Land Utilisation Ordinance defines all the above development areas and provides details on what building projects and facilities are permitted.