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Land Use Planning Berlin

Strategic basis -
Integration of land use planning into state-wide and regional planning policies

Berlin is a city as well as a federal state. With 3.6 million inhabitants and an area of 892 km2, the German capital is the most populous city in Germany and also the largest in extent. Open spaces (parklands, forests, water and agricultural land) comprise more than 40 % of the area of the city. Berlin as a metropolis is integrated into the joint planning procedures for the capital city region Berlin-Brandenburg. As the main planning instrument on a citywide level, Land Use Planning is regulated by German planning legislation. The Land Use Plan serves as a strategic framework for more detailed planning concepts for sub-areas of special importance. Local Plans have to follow the general zoning pattern of the Land Use Plan.

The Berlin region is characterised by a star shaped settlement pattern reflecting the suburban public transport corridors. The morphology of this specific layout of settlements and open spaces is illustrated by a structural diagram. This gives a simplified picture of the typology and the density of spatial relationships for Berlin and the surrounding area. It shows characteristic features of the city, including the inner city enclosed by a circular railway line (in the shape of a "dog’s head"), the transitional zone between inner and outer city, the interconnected large scale forest areas, the corridors of built up areas and of open spaces, and the interfaces between urban built up areas and peripheral open landscapes. The diagram also takes account of planning objectives such as the developments around Berlin’s new international airport BER.
Since the early 1990ies, Berlin and Brandenburg have agreed on a joint state-wide planning approach for the combined area of the two federal states. This is currently based on the joint Statement for the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg (2006), on the Development Programme (LEPro, 2007) and on the Development Plan Capital Region (LEP HR, 2019). The state-wide planning policies and objectives are aimed at concentrating development in locations with favourable conditions such as good transport connections, a strong local economy and a concentration of population. The LEP HR has specified criteria for the practical implementation of the guiding principle “to strengthen the strong” in the combined area of both states. The capital region as a whole has a population of just below 5.9 million inhabitants, of which 4.4 million live in Berlin and nearby communities within commuting distance.
On the regional planning level, the framework of the joint state-wide policy guidelines is complemented and elaborated in greater detail for sub-areas of the metropolitan region. Taking into consideration the planning objectives of the individual communities within their areas, five regional planning bodies prepare Regional Plans for their respective territories adjoining Berlin. The Berlin Land Use Plan, which includes specifications of regional significance, is the counterpart to these plans as far as the city itself is concerned. Zoning alloca-tions of the Land Use Plan for railways, inland ports, major roads and urban centres are considered to be of regional significance and have to be respected on the more local levels of planning.
Sectoral Development Plans (StEP) relating to the whole area of the city substantiate the planning objectives of the Land Use Plan for key aspects. They set down guiding principles and objectives for subjects such as housing, social services, supply and disposal facilities or transportation, and point out possible steps of action in the respective fields. In a similar sense, the Landscape Programme (LaPro) fulfils the function of a citywide spatial planning instrument. Currently the Sectoral Development Plans on urban centres, on trade and industry and on transportation are being revised. An additional Sectoral Development Plan will deal with planning strategies to counteract climatic change on the urban level.
Under the heading Transformation areas the City Development Concept (StEK) 2030 sets out guiding principles for parts of Berlin which are of special importance for economic development, for internal structural change and for the external presentation of the city. The most important strategic areas are the core of the inner city, the inner city edges to the north and south, Tegel airport (with a view to their redevelopment after closure) and the corridor leading from the inner city in a south-easterly direction to the “science city” of Adlershof and further on to the new airport BER.
The Land Use Plan is complemented by Area Planning Concepts (Planwerke) as a more informal planning instrument. Whereas the Land Use Plan determines land uses and densities, the Area Planning Concepts cover a wider range of planning topics. They translate the abstract policies of the Land Use Plan for their particular sub-area into a more tangible urban vision and look at the local urban context and development opportunities, always within the context of the policy framework for the city as a whole. Thus they substanti-ate and visualise citywide policies on the local level. Distinguishing between existing and proposed uses, Area Planning Concepts help to point out how new developments can be fitted into the existing urban fabric.
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