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    Section of a Federal State Development Plan – (Mecklenburg-Westpommerania)
    Section of the Regional Plan “Vorpommern” (a Part of Mecklenburg-Westpommerania)
    Section of a preparatory land-use plan (City of Dortmund)
    The Legally Binding Land-Use Plan “Hom 213” (City of Dortmund)

Visit our Web-sites and find:

  •    national and regional plans and strategies of spatial development
  •    spatial planning legislation / planning documents ie enforced/approved plans


The federal German states Berlin, Brandenburg, Hamburg, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Schleswig-Holstein belong to the VASAB area.


National plan

In the federal states Berlin and Brandenburg a common federal state planning (Landesplanung) was organised on the basis of the states treaty from August 7, 1997. The following national instruments exist:

  • A common state development program (approval in Berlin 9.12.1997, in Brandenburg 4.2.1998)
  • A common state development plan for the agglomeration area of Berlin (approval in Berlin 2.3.1998, in Brandenburg 2.3.1998)
  • A state development plan for Brandenburg about the central place system (approval 4.7.1995)

County/regional plans

Regional Planning is not requisite for the city state of Berlin.

Brandenburg is divided into five planning regions, with the following approved plans:

  • Havelland-Flaeming. The regional plan was completed on 23.2.1998
  • Oderland-Spree. Partial regional plan (27.11.1997)
  • Uckermark-Barnim. Partial regional plan (20.8.1997)
  • Lausitz-Spreewald. Two partial regional plans (3.6.1997, 18.2.1998)
  • Prignitz-Oberhavel. A partial regional plan (4.3.1998).

Regional planning associations are responsible for the regional planning process and outcome. It must be said, that regional planning is a new task for the federal states in the eastern part of Germany and an open process. Therefore, not every planning association has actually got an approved regional plan.

Local Comprehensive plans

For the whole City of Berlin a local comprehensive plan was enforced in 1994.

Generally it can be said that a local comprehensive plan is necessary, as soon as and to the extent that it is required for urban development. Therefore, according to the FBC a comprehensive plan is only dispensable in special cases (very small, rural municipalities), because detailed land-use plan is sufficient to organise urban development.

The preparation of comprehensive local plans is still in process in Brandenburg and the other eastern federal states. Exact information on how many municipalities have got enforced plans is not available, but it can be stressed that a lot of small municipalities do not have approved comprehensive local plans. In such cases the plan is mostly in preparation, however. Altogether, Brandenburg is divided into 1556 municipalities.


In accordance with the FRPA the comprehensive local plan serves as a federal state and regional plan in the city state of Hamburg. The last version of this plan was enforced in October 1997.

    Mecklenburg-West Pomerania

National plan

State Development Program (with the function of a plan) (4.5.1993)

County/regional plans

Mecklenburg-West Pomerania is divided into four planning regions, which have the following approved Regional Development Programs (with the function of a regional plan):

  • West Mecklenburg (9.12.1996)
  • Central Mecklenburg (18.10.1994)
  • Mecklenburgian Lakes (26.6.1998)
  • West Pomerania (21.10.1998)

Local Comprehensive Plans

The statement for Brandenburg is also valid for the 1073 municipalities of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.


National Plan

A new Federal State Spatial Development Plan was approved on June 4, 1998.

County/regional plans

In contrary to Brandenburg and Mecklenburg,-West Pomerania, the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein itself is responsible for regional planning. Schleswig-Holstein is divided into five planning regions:

  • Schleswig-Holstein South (16.7.1998)
  • Schleswig-Holstein East (alteration still in process)
  • Schleswig-Holstein Central (alteration still in process)
  • Schleswig-Holstein South-West (alteration still in process)
  • Schleswig-Holstein North (alteration still in process)

Note: The date of the approval means approval of the altered plan after enforcement of the new national plan, not of the first version.

In Schleswig-Holstein (and all other western federal states) the obligation to prepare a local comprehensive plan as soon as and to the extent that it is required for urban development has been existing since 1960 (the year of the enforcement of the First Federal Building Code). Therefore, nearly each one of the 1130 municipalities with the exception of some very small ones, is equipped with a comprehensive plan, but a lot of these plans are outdated now.


Main problems in implementation of planning legislation and in planning practice

Regional planning is often ineffective in controlling and directing local land-use planning, firstly because there are no appropriate instruments in several federal states, and secondly - owing to the strong political influence of relevant regional and local actors with specific interests.

The co-ordination between comprehensive spatial planning and the sectoral planning authorities is sub-optimal, because the sectoral planning authorities are mainly interested in realising their own sectoral interests and use their own project-oriented instruments.

A considerable part of building permissions (up to 50%) are not based on a legally binding land-use plan.

Because of the missing obligation to update plans, many municipalities operate with outdated preparatory land-use plans and proceed from informal plans in urban development, without binding effects and participation rules.


Necessary/planned changes in planning legislation

In fact no changes have been planned on the Federation level after the last fundamental modification in the Spatial Planning (FRPA) and in the Public Building Law (FBC) in 1997. On the level of the Federal States changes in planning legislation are more or less normal every year in some of the states.

In view of the above-described problems, several specific changes would however be desirable, e. g.

under specific circumstances objectives of the Raumordnung could be linked with binding effects for everyone over their impact as potential opposed public interests within building permissions in rural areas (Compare Chapter 12). In such cases, the decision about an objective of the Raumordnung is at the same time a decision about the permissibility of a concrete development project without the intermediate level of a legally binding land-use plan. Therefore, compensation rules for damage caused by planning restrictions seem to be necessary in the FRPA.

Within the Federal Land Utilisation Order the goal of mixed use could be promoted with changes of the permissible uses in the specific land-use areas.

The Federation has only framework competencies within the spatial planning law. However, it seems possible to obligate the Federal States to implement more detailed objectives of the Raumordnung in their Federal State Planning Laws and respectively authorise the Federal State and Regional plans to control local land-use planning.

An obligation to review or alter local land-use plans is not possible in respect to the planning authority of the municipalities, which is guaranteed by the German constitution. A review is only necessary as soon as and to the extent that these are required for urban development and the decision about this is under the responsibility of the municipality. However, a general restriction of temporary validity of local land-use plans could fulfil the same goal and is allowable by simple law (FBC) without a change of the constitution.

In respect to the great influence of individual planning culture in each municipality and in respect to their planning authority, changes in planning legislation must be complemented by changes in the performance of decision-makers. Therefore, examples of best practises could be very helpful.


The German contribution was prepared by Stefan Greiving and Gerd Turowski

University of Dortmund, Faculty of Spatial Planning

Tel. + 492317552213
Tel. + 492317552376


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