At a time when Europe is growing together, cooperation between countries is becoming increasingly necessary. One of the main reasons for pursuing transnational spatial development is to attain a common understanding of the facts and framing conditions of planning.
Planners themselves are often trapped in misunderstandings due to differences in system structures. Although the same English terms may be used in transnational or international professional discussions they are often related to different systemic connotations. In many cases, translating is done by others than specialists with a "3 L"-skill: language, legislation, linguistic. Experiences show that others than planners are coping with issues of spatial relevance or having spatial impacts but some of them are not aware of the related planning systems and terminologies.
Since 1995 the ARL produced Handbooks of Planning Terms which were first based on a bi- and trilateral scientific interest. Rising demands for trans-national development processes and the increasing influence of European policies on national and regional development decisions raised a crucial need for an overarching online knowledge base about constitutional, administrative and planning systems of EU Member States accompanied by glossaries of their respective planning terminology. These attempts were funded through INTERREG IIC funds in the Central Adriatic, Danubian, South Eastern European Space (CADSES) and the Baltic Sea Region (BSR), later on through INTERREG IIIB in the BSR under the title COMMIN – The Baltic spatial Concept Share. COMMIN was prepared with the ambitious challenge to foster mutual understanding and to harmonize planning terminology in the BSR on the basis of the English language. The chapter’s model structure which derived from the German case was followed by all so far included partners. National specifics led to alterations of that structure in details.
With this starting point the ARL now takes over responsibility to maintain a public domain in the long term and to amend, broaden and disseminate planning system information. Doing so, herewith we offer a supporting tool for the dialogue between sciences of spatial relevance and spatial planners, sectoral planners, decision makers, and further stakeholders. ARL won the impression that the inclusion of still lacking EU Member States - and even Non-EU-Countries worldwide - into the so far existing data base is crucial for any attempt of comparison work, mutual learning processes and any harmonization efforts of planning systems, at least in the EU.
We wish to maintain the compiled data – sacrifice of undergoing repeatedly changes because of political decision making often due to elections and new governments. We would be pleased to gather the respective information for further States, and to reflect whether other aspects or details have to be regarded in order to complete the information requirements of the potential user of our website such as, e.g., the development of new planning concepts, their implementation power, stakeholder involvement, actual issues of spatial development like demographic or climate change or the closer consideration of spatial impacts through economic development problems, regulatory and legal changes and, last but not least, cultural and cognitive aspects influencing planning systems.
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