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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Territorial authorityGebietskörperschaft

A territorial authority (or “territorial corporation”) is an area-based legal person governed by public law whose territory consists of a spatially demarcated part of the national territory. It is assigned certain sovereign functions and sovereign authority over persons present in its territory. Territorial authorities have the right of self-organisation and self-government. The most important territorial authorities in Germany are the federation, the states, counties, and municipalities.

Territorial subarea reportTeilraumgutachten

Subspace opinions are informal planning concepts for a manageable sub-space of a region (such as one or more counties) with the aim of problem-specific and solutions and strategies to develop or order of the sub-region to develop. They primarily are in the state and regional planning to apply.

Tools for securing and implementing spatial planningSicherungsinstrumente der Raumordnung und Landesplanung

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.

Transport planningVerkehrsplanung

View in Compendium

Transport planning is a sectoral field of planning concerned with the causes of traffic, traffic and transport itself, and its effects. Transport is not an end in itself but a “subservient function.” The aims of transport planning is therefore to ensure that all regions are accessible thus enabling the entire population is enabled to participate in economic, societal, and cultural processes, and to avoid any traffic-related impairment of environment and the quality of life. Statutory objectives include the promotion of environmentally friendly modes of transport (public transport, cycling, pedestrian). Among the current challenges facing transport planning are continuing suburbanisation, separation of functions, and diminishing use density.

Transport planning needs to integrated into overall spatial planning and coordinated with other sectoral planning. It takes place on all levels of planning, from the EU to the urban district level. In order to assess transport requirements and planning alternations, transport planners need comprehensive data.

Transport planning is the area of sectoral planning that attracts the greatest attention among the general public and politicians. Coordinated, medium to long-term federal transport planning is laid down every 5 to 10 years in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (FTIP). At the state level, public transport plans provide the basis for developing public transport. Municipalities, regions, and states may draw up general transport plans (Generalverkehrsplan or Gesamtverkehrsplan) providing a strategy for dealing with all transport and traffic in the planning area. At the city-wide level, transport development planning adopts a similarly comprehensive approach, albeit with greater regard for the social and environmental compatibility of urban transport and traffic. The transport planning instruments used differ from project to project depending on their scale. They include the planning approval procedure and the urban land-use plan.