urban planning

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Plan of an ideal city / planned city for 100,000 inhabitants ( Jean-Jacques Moll , 1801)

The urban planning is concerned with the development and realization of desirable, human needs appropriate zukünftigten states of a city and its sub-areas. She develops spatial concepts and processes, taking into account in particular economic, ecological, social, creative and technical aspects. As a rule, it is institutionalized by the state and bindingly regulates land use in the municipal area. This includes both public and private construction as well as spatial infrastructure development, ideally taking into account all public and private concerns with the aim of minimizing conflict.

In the subject of urban and regional planning , which various universities offer as a course of study, planning is also considered on a superordinate spatial level (region or country). The planning also includes conceptual and the development of rural communities and villages. The more architecturally oriented urban planning deals in particular with the visible and design aspects of urban planning.


Putbus on the island of Rügen , an example of urban planning in classicism of the early 19th century

The specialists involved in urban planning (mostly urban planners, but also architects , civil engineers , geographers , landscape or spatial planners and traffic engineers ) are referred to as urban planners . In Germany, this job title is legally protected in all German federal states and may only be used by professionals who are entered in the corresponding list of the city planners and architects' chambers of the federal states. Urban planners mainly work in the public administration of the municipalities and in independent planning offices for urban development / urban planning, but also in architecture, landscape planning, engineering and transport planning offices, in intermediary institutions and in the relevant departments of universities and technical colleges. Urban planning is a discipline that is taught at some universities as an independent subject or as a specialization in related training such as architecture, civil engineering, geography, spatial planning or transport.

The legal task of urban planning in Germany is to achieve sustainable urban development in cities and municipalities and their sub-areas. The social, economic and ecological requirements must be reconciled with one another. Socially equitable land use that serves the common good must be guaranteed. Urban planning should contribute to ensuring a humane environment and protecting and developing the natural foundations of life, also taking responsibility for general climate protection . In addition, the urban design and the location and landscape should be preserved and developed in terms of building culture. Green space and landscape planning are becoming increasingly important in the context of urban and local planning and urban redevelopment.

History of town planning

The earliest evidence of complex urban planning can be found in the Indus culture (Harappa culture), which began around 2600 BC. BC built cities which, among other things, had a uniform shape of the cities or the existence of water supply and sewerage .

Early evidence of urban planning can be found in the history of urban planning in China as early as the Shang dynasty with u. a. the construction of the capital Xibo (1548–1399 BC).

In Greece from the 7th century BC onwards Around 1000 Greek cities with or without a plan. Above all, the founding of cities in the Mediterranean region from around 450 BC. Were built according to a grid-shaped plan. Urban planner Hippodamos of Miletus (5th century BC) developed his "Hippodamian system", a system of even and equally sized plots. The Roman cities adopted much of this Greek system of grid cities with main streets ( decumani ) often from east to west and cross streets ( cardi ), which then formed the built-up rectangles ( insulae ). Agora (Greek) or forum was the name of the center of the city.

In France or Germany, the planned Roman city plan was later overlaid by an irregular road network (Trier, Aachen).

Well-known plans in Europe include a. Valletta (1565), built according to plans by the fortress builder Francesco Laparelli da Cortona da, or the ideal cities of the Renaissance such as Freudenstadt at the time of Duke Friedrich I (around 1600) by the builder Heinrich Schickhardt (1558-1635) and Pienza , a first example of a “ humanistic “town planning or Sabbioneta , planned by fortress builders and Duke Vespasiano Gonzaga (1531–1591). Suggestions of this kind found dissemination in western Europe.

Major interventions in the urban structure, such as the plans by Georges-Eugène Haussmann (1809–1891), changed Paris and were an example for other large residential cities during and after classicism .

Urban planning in Germany

The building code (BauGB) forms the legal basis for urban planning in Germany . Formal procedures for drawing up various plans are regulated in the BauGB. The building code differentiates between the "general town planning law " and the "special town planning law". The terms urban development law and building planning law are used synonymously.

General town planning law

The urban land use planning takes the highest priority, which distinguishes two plans with different levels of detail and commitment:

  • The zoning plan (FNP, also F-Plan) serves as a preparatory master plan, which covers the entire municipality and serves as the basis for the elaboration of detailed plans for parts of the municipality. In the FNP, statements are made about the intended future distribution of land uses, i.e. the distribution and allocation of residential, commercial, open and special areas as well as the location of important roads. The FNP is to be developed from the regional plan and has a time horizon of around 15 years. After the establishment process has been completed with intensive participation by the public and the authorities and other public bodies, the zoning plan is decided by the municipal council. The zoning plan has no legal effect on private individuals, but is only binding for public bodies.
  • Binding land-use plans , the development plans (B-Plan), are drawn up as statutes for sub-areas of a community area. According to the Building Code, there are three types of development plans: Qualified development plans, project-related development plans (project and development plans) and simple development plans. In addition to these three types of development plans, the building code allows different sub-types such as the development plan for interior development. In addition to statements about the distribution of land uses, development plans can also contain design specifications and certain land rights. Development plans are specific to the parcel. When they are set up, they generally go through the same procedure for public and official participation as the zoning plan. Development plans are adopted by the municipal council as statutes. They are then immediately legally effective vis-à-vis everyone, in particular the property owners in the planning area.

Special town planning rights

The special urban development law regulates the preparation and implementation of urban redevelopment and development measures for urban redevelopment measures, special urban development, urban redevelopment , the social city and the protection of urban monuments . It defines the framework for further private urban development initiatives.

In the special urban planning law, there are also the regulations for the establishment of conservation statutes , urban planning requirements , social plans and hardship compensation .

Further regulations in the building code

The third chapter of the BauGB regulates valuation, building land matters, responsibilities and administrative procedures.

Due to the regulations of the Building Code, statutory ordinances are issued:

  • The Building Utilization Ordinance (BauNVO) determines the type and size in which a plot of land may be used for different types of building areas and contains specifications about the construction method and building area.
  • The Planzeichenverordnung (PlanzV) contains specifications for the graphical representation of master plans.
  • The Real Estate Valuation Ordinance (ImmoWertV) regulates the determination of the market values ​​of properties.

Building regulations

The building regulations of the federal states are closely interlinked with the building planning law according to the BauGB . A series of design specifications can be made on the basis of the state building regulations.

Urban planning in Austria

The principle of urban planning is implemented in Austria in a similar way as it is the case in Germany. Even the planning instruments, such as the zoning plan or the development plan, are used in a comparable way. In Austria, the procedure is carried out under the term community planning, whereby the word part "community" also includes urban settlement structures.

Urban planning in Switzerland

The urban planning procedure in Switzerland is regulated by the federal law on spatial planning and the respective building and spatial planning laws of the 26 cantons. Urban planning is often based on urban development concepts and structure plans. These aim to link the numerous topics of urban planning such as population and economic development, traffic planning, environmental planning, open space planning, construction planning, etc. The most important legal instrument of Swiss urban planning is the building and zoning regulations - a land use plan in the terminology of the Federal Law on Spatial Planning - which regulates at least the type and extent of the structural use of the soil in a binding manner for everyone. With more detailed, so-called special usage plans, the use and development is determined for subareas that are significant in terms of urban development (“design plans”, “development plans”, “development regulations”, “development plans”). In urban planning, however, the informal procedures, such as urban planning competitions or architecture competitions, are also important. They often form the basis for legal stipulations or for contracts with those willing to build.

Informal plans and programs

In addition to handling formal planning procedures, the tasks of urban planning also include drawing up informal plans and programs. Informal plans are to be understood as all plans, often without a legal basis, that are drawn up voluntarily by the planning administration and are therefore largely binding on the authorities. They are generally used to develop planning alternatives and should be taken into account when drawing up formal plans. Although informal plans of all kinds are conceivable, some standard plans have emerged:

and also

as well as at the level of route and traffic planning

  • Plan approval procedures in which the interests of different agencies must be adequately taken into account in the procedure.

Design planning for public spaces

The area of ​​responsibility of urban planning also includes design planning for the various areas. They are:

In addition, there is a long tradition of planning competitions in urban planning . For particularly demanding urban planning (or architectural or engineering) projects, ideas competitions are carried out according to certain rules, which lead to a large number of proposed solutions. Independent juries will determine the most suitable design from the submitted work.

Current issues in urban planning

As a result of social changes, the areas of responsibility of urban planning also change. While the focus was originally on the provision of suitable areas for residential and commercial use, urban planning today is particularly concerned with the following tasks, some of which overlap:

Citizen participation

The existing procedures for informing and involving the public in planning processes are often viewed as inadequate. Strong public protests, such as the renovation of Stuttgart Central Station , show the strong public interest in greater participation in planning decisions on various spatial levels and in both specialist and general urban planning. In urban planning, therefore, attempts are increasingly being made to implement new and stronger forms of participation and decision-making by the public that go beyond the statutory provisions. This is countered by the fact that greater public participation can promote the enforcement of pure “ Nimby ” interests, and thus the most strongly and professionally articulating interests can prevail over weaker, but possibly more objectively justified interests.

Digitization, "Smart City"

Technological innovations and new digital tools and offers are increasingly permeating cities and their planning. In many cases, this is expected to improve efficiency and quality of life in cities. Holistic development concepts that aim to develop these profits often use the catchphrase “ Smart City ”. Critics fear an increase in surveillance and an excessive role of large technology corporations vis-à-vis the democratically legitimized institutions.


Many cities are currently hoping for new impulses for the further development of urban spaces through the planning and implementation of large events in the areas of music, culture, leisure or sport. Hopes for growth impulses and spill-over effects from companies in the cultural industry can also be found in almost every model of urban planning. Examples of such “festivals” or “events” are events within the framework of the European Capital of Culture , international building exhibitions , EXPO world exhibitions or major sporting events up to the Olympic Games . With great financial outlay, inner city spaces in particular are prepared and redesigned for such events. This development can be clearly observed in city centers in Great Britain (Millennium Projects) through targeted national cultural funding from state lottery funds. Cooperation structures that the municipality enters into with the local private sector and individual actors are characteristic of the implementation of such large-scale projects. Positive examples of a self-sustaining development of urban renewal in the context of festivalization can be found in the revitalization of the city centers of Manchester , Wolfsburg and Lille .


The gentrification is a process which is first produced by more political and economic processes, as by the urban planning. Very high or rising rents or home ownership prices compared to non-rising wages force residents to move to other, more distant parts of the city or to be able to move only to certain parts of the city. This dissolves the typical urban mix that has evolved across all strata of the population. Small-scale social mix generally has positive effects on overall social cohesion and social advancement of the disadvantaged. Further alienation and anonymization of society, impoverishment of the population in many urban areas as well as general segregation should be avoided.

New urbanism

An overarching theme of today's urban planning is the New Urbanism ( New Urbanism ). Since the 1970s, the perimeter block development , the mixed use of districts combined with a higher urban density, as well as the orientation of settlement development towards walking accessibility and local public transport have again received greater attention than before under the model of the Athens Charter . Legally, this found expression in the introduction of the new area category “ urban area ” in the building use ordinance .


The reconstruction of buildings and urban structures that were destroyed in the Second World War is increasingly being discussed controversially and partially implemented, although their destruction was long ago. Well-known examples are the Frauenkirche in Dresden, the Berlin City Palace or the restored old town of Frankfurt . Criticized by opponents as backward-looking and kitschy , the reconstructions are often rated positively by the general population and by tourists.

Shrinking city

For several years, urban planning deals with so-called Shrinking Cities , so shrinking cities. They are a phenomenon of critical urban development caused by structural crises, emigration and general population decline due to the imbalance between the birth rate and the death rate . Here, urban planning does not have to be oriented towards growth, but must deal with the problems that arise from the increasingly sparsely populated communities and the fallowing of entire urban districts. A particular challenge is the adjustment of the planning regulations, which were created mainly with a view to dealing with growth.

Social city

As early as 1999, the federal government and federal states launched a funding program for “districts with special development needs” under the program title “ Socially Integrative City ”. The aim of this program is to counteract the worsening social and spatial divisions in cities. The focus is on the involvement of the affected population groups and the local actors in the districts (see district management ). The aim is a holistic planning approach that goes beyond purely structural and design measures.

Urban crime prevention

The urban crime prevention approach aims to reduce opportunities for crime through structural, technical and socio-spatial measures and to strengthen the population's sense of security. This includes, in particular, avoiding fearful dreams . In cooperation with the police, security requirements can be taken into account as early as the planning stage for buildings and outdoor facilities. The Building Code (BauGB) does not set any specific requirements for crime prevention in urban planning, but only general planning goals ( Section 1 (5) BauGB) and planning guidelines (Section 1 (6) BauGB).

Urban redevelopment

Dealing with existing urban quarters is becoming increasingly important in urban planning, as the existing settlement structures no longer meet today's requirements and require planning measures. The problem of urban redevelopment placed first in East Germany , where the migration from prefabricated settlements restructuring made necessary. In the meantime, the funding programs have been expanded to include Germany as a whole, so that comprehensive measures can now be implemented nationwide for the reorganization of existing city districts or city quarters and for the orderly demolition of living space that is no longer required.

More environmentally friendly urban planning

The realization that cities are home to a large and growing part of the world population and are responsible for a high proportion of global emissions, but at the same time have special potential for increasing efficiency due to their high density, has led to special hopes for a reduction in emissions and an increase in the urban quality of life can be placed in an environmentally friendly redevelopment of the cities. The focus here is on energy-efficient construction , a stronger role of the environmental network in urban mobility, the improvement of the urban climate by keeping air corridors free, setting up and maintaining parks and open spaces and restricting sealing

Initial and continuing education

Study of urban planning in Germany

Urban planning can be studied in Germany in courses with various specializations. The course concludes with a bachelor's and master's degree . At some German universities, as well as in Austria and Switzerland, parts of urban planning are offered as a specialization in architecture, geography or other courses of study.

The following German universities offer full courses in urban planning:

In addition, there are other universities and technical colleges where urban planning is offered as an advanced or specialization (here is an exemplary selection):

Further training opportunities in Germany

After successfully completing a degree, there is the possibility of further professional qualification for urban planners with the urban planning clerkship . The traineeship is on the one hand a preparatory service for the higher civil engineering administration service, on the other hand a comprehensive, practice-oriented additional training. The aim of the legal traineeship is to impart comprehensive knowledge in the areas of administration, law, planning, operations and leadership that goes far beyond the knowledge imparted in the course.

The training is divided into informational activities and practical work at various public administration offices, with the focus on planning and construction management. In addition, there are usually regular weekly working groups for trainee lawyers, in which extensive specialist knowledge is imparted in the form of lectures, presentations and specialist excursions. The training is supplemented by various longer specialist courses. At the end of the two-year legal traineeship, oral and written examinations must be taken, after which the graduates are entitled to bear the title of "building assessor".

Some public and private planning agencies, for example city administrations or project development companies, also offer their own trainee programs for the further qualification of urban planning graduates. Similar to the traineeship, the candidates have the opportunity to get to know administrative processes, to deepen specialist knowledge and to familiarize themselves with practice.

Studied urban planning in Austria and Switzerland

In Austria, urban planning can be studied at the University of Vienna (geography / spatial research and spatial planning), at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (landscape planning) in Vienna and at the Technical University of Vienna .

In Switzerland, it is possible to study urban planning at two universities: as a postgraduate degree at the ETH Zurich or at the Rapperswil University of Applied Sciences .

Professional associations / chambers

In Germany, only urban planners or free urban planners are allowed to call themselves who are entered on the list of urban planners of an architectural association .

There are three professional associations or clubs in Germany for urban planning:

  1. Association for Urban, Regional and State Planning e. V. (SRL)
  2. German Academy for Urban Development and Regional Planning (DASL)
  3. Information group for spatial planning e. V. (IfR)

In Switzerland the professional association is called Fachverband Schweizer Planer (FSU).

See also

Portal: Planning  - Overview of Wikipedia content on planning


  • Gerd Albers: urban planning. A practice-oriented introduction . Primus , Darmstadt 1996, ISBN 3-89678-002-6 .
  • Uwe Altrock , Ronald Kunze, Elke Pahl-Weber , Ursula von Petz, Dirk Schubert: Yearbook Urban Renewal 2006/07: Urban Renewal and Landscape. Contributions from teaching and research at German-speaking universities . Ed .: Working group on urban renewal at German-speaking universities · Institute for Urban and Regional Planning at the Technical University of Berlin. Technische Universität, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-7983-2029-1 (published annually since 1990: Yearbook Urban Renewal - online edition ).
  • Frank Betker: Understanding the necessity. Municipal town planning in the GDR and after the fall of the Wall (1945–1994) . City history. Series: Contributions to urban history and urbanization research. tape 3 . Steiner , Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-515-08734-6 .
  • Frank Betker: Ecological urban renewal. A new model for urban development? With a case study on municipal planning in Saarbrücken . Alano / Rader, Aachen 1992, ISBN 3-89399-155-7 (work reports. Chair for Planning Theory Aachen).
  • Helmut Bott, Gregor Grassl, Stephan Anders et al. (Ed.): Sustainable urban planning - concepts for sustainable quarters . Institute for international architecture doc., Munich 2013, ISBN 978-3-95553-193-5 .
  • Lucius Burckhardt : Who is planning the planning? Architecture, politics and people . Ed .: Jesko Fezer, Martin Schmitz . Martin Schmitz, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-927795-39-9 .
  • Gerhard Curdes : Urban Structure and Urban Design . 2nd Edition. Kohlhammer , Stuttgart 1996, ISBN 3-17-014294-1 (first edition: 1993).
  • Gerhard Curdes: Urban Structural Design . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 3-17-012627-X .
  • Guy Debord : The Society of the Spectacle . Edition Tiamat, Berlin 1996, Chapter VII: The spatial planning .
  • Dieter Frick: On the development of the course and the Institute for Urban and Regional Planning . Berlin 1997 ( full text [PDF] article on the genesis of urban and regional planning education at German universities).
  • Ronald Kunze, Hartmut Welters (Hrsg.): The practical handbook of building land use planning and urban building law. Current guidelines for BauGB and BauNVO . WEKA , Kissing 2014, ISBN 978-3-8277-8189-5 ( loose-leaf work ; currently 2 folders, DIN A5, approx. 2,800 pages plus online database with ongoing additions).
  • Florian Marten: Broken plan: the misery of spatial and urban planning . Campus , Frankfurt am Main (among others) 1997, ISBN 3-593-35702-X .
  • David Pinder: Visions of the City. Utopianism, Power and Politics in Twentieth Century Urbanism . Routledge Chapman & Hall., 2006, ISBN 0-415-95311-1 .
  • Marianne Rodenstein: Paths to the Non-Sexist City. Architects and planners in the USA . Kore, Freiburg in Breisgau 1998, ISBN 3-926023-49-X .
  • Contribute to spatial development. Concepts. Theories. Impulses . In: Klaus Selle (Ed.): Edition urban development . Rethink planning. tape 1 . Dorothea Rohn-Klewe, Dortmund 2006, ISBN 3-939486-01-9 .
  • Jürgen Schmitt: "Who is planning here for whom ...?" Field research in the interaction community of an East German process of district work . In: Stadtforschung aktuell series . tape 98 . Verlag für Sozialwissenschaft, Wiesbaden 2004, ISBN 3-8100-4118-1 (Diss. 2003, TU-Chemnitz).
  • Bernd Streich: Urban planning in the knowledge society - A manual . Verlag für Sozialwissenschaft, Wiesbaden 2005, ISBN 3-531-14569-X (with DVD-ROM).
  • Ministry for State Development and Transport of the State of Saxony-Anhalt (Ed.): Less is the future 19 cities - 19 topics. JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86859-100-2 .
  • Klaus Theo Brenner: The beautiful city - presentation of a design method for sustainable urban architecture. JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86859-092-0 .
  • Günther Witzany (Hrsg.): Sustainable city and traffic planning. How much Kohr does the city need? BoD, Norderstedt 2010, ISBN 978-3-8391-7593-4 .
  • Regina Bittner, Wilfried Hackenbroich, Kai Vöckler: UN Urbanism. JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-86859-087-6 .
  • Klaus Humpert, Martin Schenk: Discovery of medieval town planning. The end of the myth of the “grown city.” Konrad Theiss Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-8062-1464-6 (with many historical city plans and a DVD).
  • Kristien Ring, AA PROJECTS and Senate Department for Urban Development and Environment, Berlin, HG .: Self-made City - urban design and residential projects on your own initiative. JOVIS Verlag, Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86859-167-5 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Urban planning  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Klaus Fischer , Michael Jansen, Jan Pieper: Architecture of the Indian Subcontinent. Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 1987, p. 111.
  2. ^ Jan Abt, Anke Schröder: Urban crime prevention. In: Bauwelt 6/2017, www.bauwelt.de. 2017, accessed August 17, 2019 .
  3. Architects and planners: Include police experience in planning. In: www.polizei-beratung.de. Retrieved August 17, 2019 .
  4. Marie-Luis Wallraven-Lindl: Urban crime prevention. From: Erich Marks & Wiebke Steffen (Eds.): Living safely in town and country Selected contributions from the 17th German Prevention Day April 16 and 17, 2012 in the Munich Forum. Verlag Godesberg GmbH 2013, pp. 347-358. ISBN 978-3-942865-15-9 Online .