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.


Weighing of interestsAbwägung der Belange

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In preparing decisions in all fields of spatial and sectoral planning, interests typically need to be weighed. This is a key requirement in planning for the benefit of society under the rule of law. A complex theoretical framework has consequently been developed to achieve this in applying building and sectoral planning law. The requirement to weigh interests in urban land-use planning is enshrined in the Federal Building Code. Conflicting public and private interests are to be weighed against each other and given fair consideration This places a duty on municipalities to ensure:

  1. that interests are duly weighed,
  2. that all matters warranting consideration are covered,
  3. that there is no failure to appreciate the importance of public and private interests
  4. that the balance achieved is proportionate to the objective importance of individual interests.

Within these limits a municipality is free to decide in favour of one interest and thus against another.