Urban development

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As urban development is defined as the spatial, historical and structural overall development of a city . The term urban development is understood here - in contrast to a random development - as an active planning and change process either of the entire city or of individual city quarters or urban development areas .


Targeted urban development already existed in ancient times . The cities of the Indus culture like Harappa show as early as the 3rd millennium BC. An orderly structure with streets arranged like a chessboard. The cities of ancient Egypt also had a planned structure. It can run out of order, mostly it is steered in a certain direction by urban development, town planning and land-use planning .

With the increase in power of the Roman Empire after the turn of the times, there was an increasing number of cities in Europe. Mainly adjacent to military roads and traffic routes, their primary task was to secure trade hubs. After the invasion of the Huns in 375 AD, the Western Roman Empire disintegrated as a result of the migrations caused by Etzel's troops . Only with the Christianization of Europe did urban development experience a rebirth. Ecclesiastical and secular rulers expressed their power with episcopal and gau castles.

Due to the development in agriculture ( three-field economy ), the expansion of long-distance trade and the emergence of handicrafts, early medieval market and merchant settlements arose near the centers of power. In the course of the Middle Ages, a real urban boom developed (see also City in the Middle Ages ), which served the respective influential forces to secure territories.

As a rule, these cities were separated from their agricultural environment.

In the early modern period, the number of new cities founded stagnated. Reasons for this were u. a. Wars, for example the Thirty Years War , epidemics and the disintegration of the Hanseatic League, which was involved in the construction of many northern European cities.

Urban development as an overall development

In contrast to random development, the term urban development is understood here as an active planning and change process. In contrast to urban planning , which relates more to the structural and spatial development of sub-areas, urban development in the sense of urban development planning is about controlling the overall development of the city, which also includes social, economic, cultural and ecological development. Urban development therefore requires an interdisciplinary, integrated and future-oriented approach. Urban development is driven by social trends such as B. demographic change , globalization , the anchoring of sustainability at the local level (local agenda / local sustainability strategy) as well as new challenges through a new culture of participation (citizen participation). Current issues in urban development include B. the integration of certain population groups, urban redevelopment east and west, district management or the design of human-friendly cities.

Phases of urban development

In spatial sciences, the differentiation of the growth process and its dynamics into the following phases has established itself as a way of characterizing modern urban development:

Urban development in the Federal Republic of Germany after 1945

1945 to around 1960

As a better quality of life (supply, jobs, infrastructure, etc.) was to be expected in the cities in post-war Germany due to the economic miracle , urbanization began.

From 1960 to around 1970

The migration (suburbanization) to the surrounding area begins. Made possible by greater mobility (more cars, motorcycles) and better infrastructure, the so-called “ bacon belts ” slowly emerged . The average living space per person increased; in the wake of a baby boom (“ baby boom ”) families needed space. Another characteristic of urban development policy in the 1960s and 1970s was the redevelopment of districts in many larger cities; sometimes entire streets were torn down. In addition, a new phase of functionalism began in the 1960s, which was linked to the social housing of the 1920s. Living in high-rise buildings was seen by many as chic and practical (see, for example, “ Neue Heimat ”).

From 1970 until today

Compression areas ( suburbs ) with close interdependencies and elaborately developed peripheries have emerged, which have been connected to the core city through high infrastructural investments. The surrounding communities that have now grown keep a high proportion of commuters and traffic loads. With the peripheral growth the problems of the core cities with regard to tax revenue losses arose, which continued in the following decades due to the further suburbanization also at the level of trade tax law . The surrounding communities, on the other hand, benefit from the high resident population who pays tax on their income there. Solutions for this are a financial equalization as well as the incorporation (affiliation) of the surrounding communities into the core city. The causes are home building and privatization , which are favored by state subsidies . This problem, which is formulated as “development”, is understood, however, before the description of political decisions as a clearly favorable cause that accelerated after reunification and has continued unhindered until today.

New urbanism is an overarching theme of today's urban development . After recognizing the structural failure of the especially since the Modern and the Athens Charter incurred loosened settlements (or satellite towns ), it comes since the 1980s with this Urbanismusbewegung (u. A. With Team 10 its beginning took) to the rediscovery of the block development and Mixed use of quarters and thus urban density. According to this, this type of urban development, which was previously lamented by the settlement planners, supports the advantages of urban life, in connection with a healthy social and economic mix and considerable savings in resources (travel routes, heating costs, infrastructure costs, etc.) compared to the lavish settlements.

Urban development in the GDR

Urban development in the GDR was less a reaction to trends in society and the economy than in the West. But it did not simply follow state location and structural requirements. The universal models of urban planning were not without effect in the GDR and many cities went their own ways of development.

As in the west, another feature was the concentration of the population in large and medium-sized cities, but with a simultaneous population decline in the GDR, as well as an overall more dynamic development of the southern cities, provided that important industries were developed in them and they were declared urban cities after the Second World War were. But also individual cities in the north developed rapidly for these reasons. B. Rostock and Neubrandenburg . Other characteristics are great places in the city center as well as the above-average number and large housing estates ( prefabricated housing estates) on the outskirts and the plate ensembles in many inner cities. The most important national migration destination was East Berlin .

Sustainable urban development

Urban development is currently based primarily on the model of “sustainable urban development”, which u. a. The Aalborg Charter (Denmark, June 1994) states:

"We have the vision of integrative, prosperous, creative and sustainable cities and communities that offer all residents a high quality of life and give them the opportunity to actively participate in all aspects of urban life"

- Extract from: Aalborg Commitments 2004

An important guiding document at EU level is the Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities .

The focus is on the orientation of urban development towards the neighborhood level, which has been promoted in Germany since 1999 primarily through the Social City funding program .

Examples of sustainable urban development

Examples of sustainable urban development were provided in Germany by the cities of Ingolstadt (model project: “Visions for Ingolstadt”), Münster (“integrated urban development and city marketing concept”), Heidelberg (sustainable urban development plan with Local Agenda 21 ) or in Berlin with the 12 principles of urban renewal realized. In Ingolstadt, a prototype for the new integrative instrument of the local sustainability strategy was developed by interlinking urban development planning, all specialist planning, urban development projects and Local Agenda 21 .

The city of Neumarkt in the Upper Palatinate was the first city in Germany to develop a local sustainability strategy using the “Ingolstadt method” as part of the “Local Sustainability Strategy City of Neumarkt” model project funded by the Free State of Bavaria . This was decided on July 20, 2004 by the city council. The focus is on six guiding principles, 24 guiding principles for future viability up to 2025, 17 leading projects and 164 measures and individual projects for sustainable urban development (see literature). The first comprehensive scientific analysis from a holistic point of view was drawn up in 2014 in Germany for the city of Delitzsch . The climate policy orientation is presented in the context of future-proof municipal resource management and sustainable social urban development.


Despite the generally growing consensus on the need for sustainable urban development is currently circulating a variety of models that are wider or narrower as " car-free city", "ecocity", " Smart City ", " Resilient City ", "Emission-free city", etc. Your ecological and social benefits, their feasibility and compatibility have not yet been clarified. These general models also largely ignore local and cultural peculiarities that must be taken into account for successful change.

Problems of sustainable urban development

In Europe, sustainable urban development presents itself primarily as a problem in the redevelopment of existing cities. However, this conversion is made more difficult in Germany by the fact that less than one percent of the housing stock is built every year. At the same time, in a situation of shortage of housing, the housing stock must be restructured in the direction of single and elderly-friendly apartments without destroying functioning social structures. A gradual transformation of the housing stock is also very difficult in the large block housing estates of Eastern Europe.

In third world and emerging countries, the annual proportion of new buildings is significantly higher in relation to the housing stock; Instead, there are increased infrastructure problems due to increasing mobility, water supply and waste management, which are even more difficult to cope with due to the scaling of the megacities. In Asia or Eastern Europe, the insight into the necessity of participatory planning strategies is also very limited; Here politics still unilaterally determines the roles of the actors or lets them act wildly.

National urban development policy

In line with the Leipzig Charter for Sustainable European Cities, the National Urban Development Policy aims to strengthen cities and regions in Germany so that they can successfully cope with current economic, ecological and social challenges and remain livable places for all population groups. This applies to small, medium-sized and large cities alike.

Urban development of the future

In the context of globalization , the international competition between cities and regions has intensified. In addition to the classic economic location factors, more and more factors such as knowledge , innovation, cultural attractiveness and the size of the urban creative potential are gaining in importance. A key task of urban development in the future will therefore be to promote the urban talent pool. The goal: to achieve the most balanced mix possible in social, economic, cultural and physical terms. Since the cities are politically and financially limited, the search for new strategic partnerships has begun.

A major role is seen in the so-called third sector and in networks in the social and cultural area. Economists and urban researchers such as Richard Florida and Charles Landry assign the "soft location factors" the central importance for economic prosperity and increased opportunities in the global competition of the future. So there are in Germany z. B. for the capital the "Urban Development Concept Berlin 2020" and for Leipzig the "Integrated Urban Development Concept Leipzig 2020" (SEKo).

The ability of urban structures to secure their primary livelihood even in the event of internal and external disturbances with severe damage by maintaining central functions must be given greater consideration. This so-called urban risk is z. B. by terrorist attacks or the potential negative effects of digitization is becoming increasingly important.

Urban development tools

Urban development instruments are in particular:

  • the integrated urban development concept (INSEK)
  • the urban development plan (or similar instruments such as urban models), which includes the entire city and the urban development program (program consisting of urban development projects for a medium-term period)
  • neighborhood development plan or the Integrated Urban Development Plan (also integrated cities Masterplan ) (ISEK) when the program is Social City includes individual neighborhoods
  • individual specialist plans e.g. B. Transport plan and noise reduction plan, plans for economic development, plans for housing development, youth welfare plan, climate protection programs , cultural development plan , etc.
  • Local sustainability strategy ( good governance approach)

and in connection with urban planning

Urban development methods (selection)

See also

Portal: Planning  - Overview of Wikipedia content on planning


  • Sybille Bauriedl, Anke Strüver (ed.): Smart City - Critical Perspectives on Digitization in Cities . transcript, Bielefeld 2018, ISBN 978-3-8376-4336-7 .
  • G. Curdes: Urban Structure and Urban Design. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1993.
  • G. Curdes (Ed.): Series City - Space - Innovation:
    • G. Curdes, M. Ulrich: The development of the Cologne urban area. The influence of models and innovations on the shape of the city . Dortmund 1997.
    • A. Haase: The development of the Duisburg urban area. The influence of innovations on rooms and functions . Dortmund 1999.
    • G. Curdes: The development of the Aachen urban space. The influence of models and innovations on the shape of the city . Dortmund 1999.
  • German Institute for Urbanism (Ed.): Municipalities on the way to sustainability . Cologne 2004.
  • Tammo Grabbert: Shrinking Cities and Segregation. A comparative study on Leipzig and Essen. Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Berlin, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-86573-338-2 .
  • Sabine Gruber: Intermediate Organizations in Urban Development. Opportunities for collective learning and the development of democracy . Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-930830-86-2 .
  • P. Hall, U.Pfeiffer: Urban 21. The expert report on the future of cities . Stuttgart-Munich 2000.
  • A. Montanari, G. Curdes; L. Forsyth (Edit.): Urban Landscape Dynamics. A multi-level innovation process . Aldershot (UK) 1993.
  • Jürg Sulzer, Anne Pfeil (ed.): Urban development and monument preservation . Volume 10: City, Space, Time . JOVIS Verlag, 2008, ISBN 978-3-939633-72-3 .
  • Sigrid Brandt, Hans.Rudolf Meier (Ed.): Urban development and monument preservation . Volume 11: Cityscape and Monument Preservation - Construction and Reception of Images of the City . JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-939633-73-0 .
  • Jürg Sulzer (Ed.): Urban development and preservation of monuments . Volume 12: Urban Design - Visions Alliances Paths . JOVIS Verlag Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-939633-74-7 .
  • Karl P. Schörghuber: Urban renewal: sex in the city instead of dead pants . Schörghuber & Partner, 2007, ISBN 978-3-9500392-2-1 .
  • Federal Ministry for Transport, Building and Urban Development / E. Lütge Daltrup, P. Zlonicky (Ed.): Large projects in Germany - urban development 1990–2010 . JOVIS Verlag Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86859-041-8 .
  • G. Witzany (Ed.) Sustainable urban and traffic planning. How much Kohr does the city need? Bod, Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-7593-4 .
  • Anne Huffschmid, Kathrin Wildner (Ed.): Urban research from Latin America. New urban scenarios: Public - Territoriality - Imaginarios . ( Urban studies series ). Transcript, Bielefeld 2013, ISBN 978-3-8376-2313-0 (fundamental to urban development in Latin America, the most urbanized part of the world)
  • Manfred Wilde (ed.): The sustainable city. Future-proof communal resource management. De Gruyter / Oldenbourg, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-035382-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. Helmut Bott, Johann Jessen, Franz Pesch (eds.): Urban planning module: Basic knowledge of urban planning . 7th edition. University of Stuttgart Urban Development Institute, Stuttgart 2014, ISBN 978-3-930548-29-3 , p. 42 ff .
  2. Charter of New Urbanism - German translation of the Engl. Charter of the New Urbanism
  3. Leipzig Charter for a Sustainable European City . Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  4. staedtebaufoerderung.info
  5. Manfred Wilde (ed.): The sustainable city. Future-proof communal resource management. De Gruyter / Oldenbourg, Munich 2014, ISBN 978-3-11-035382-2 .
  6. Alexandra Quint, Marius Albiez: Sustainable Cities: Challenges and Opportunities at Different Scales. Report on the international conference Sustainability 2014 (English), In: Technology assessment. Volume 23 (H. 3) 2014, p. 116 ff.
  7. S. Rexroth, F. May, U. Zink (Ed.): Thermal insulation of buildings. Contemporary and versatile. Berlin 2014.
  8. ↑ Stress test city - how resilient are our cities? Identify, analyze and evaluate uncertainties in urban development. Edited by the Federal Institute for Building, Urban and Spatial Research (BBSR) in the Federal Office for Building and Spatial Planning (BBR), Bonn 2018, ISBN 978-3-87994-224-4