Here you will find explanations of important terms relating to sustainable settlements, sustainable urban development and life cycle assessment and evaluation methods.




Sewage: Water runoff contaminated by organic and inorganic substances after use.

Weighing: § Section 1 (6) BauGB lists the concerns, including environmental concerns, which are to be taken into account "in particular" in urban land use planning. Other concerns can therefore be added in individual cases. Paragraph 7 then clarifies that these concerns are to be weighed fairly against and among each other. None of the interests, for example neither the interests of the economy, traffic nor the environment, enjoy a fundamental priority in this balancing, for example in the sense of a "right of way rule" for work. However, case law classifies many environmental concerns, in contrast to other concerns, as "optimisation requirements", the deferral of which is possible but must be weighed particularly carefully. The municipality therefore has considerable scope for decision-making, but is at the same time required to look very carefully and to arrive at a truly fair result of consideration, otherwise the consideration is open to legal challenge and may be incorrect, and can lead to the invalidity of a plan. (See also below on the soil protection clause).

Allocation: Allocation and quantitative distribution of the input and output flows of a joint process to the individual products. Required for multi-product systems in order to also create life cycle assessments for individual products.

Everyday mobility
All trips related to daily activities. Everyday mobility corresponds to annual mobility excluding non-daily mobility. Non-daily mobility are journeys related to air travel, unless they occur in the normal daily or weekly cycle.

Contaminated sites: Old deposits and old sites which, according to expert assessment, have a detrimental effect on public welfare.

Outdoor Protection: See under privileged projects.

Compensation: Measures taken in the event of an intervention in the natural balance in order to compensate for the impairment of the natural balance or biotopes.

Evaluation: Important component of a life cycle assessment in which the results of the life cycle inventory and/or the impact assessment are combined for the conclusions and recommendations.


Urban land use planning: Land-use plans are land-use plans and development plans, to which landscape plans and green-space plans are assigned.

Building Area: An area designated for development in the land use plan and shown according to the general type of its constructional use; according to the Building Use Ordinance, a distinction is made between: Residential (W), Commercial (G), Mixed (M) and Special (S).

Construction area: A building area designated in a development plan according to its particular type of building use. The Building Use Ordinance differentiates between: Small residential areas (WS), pure residential areas (WR), general residential areas (WA), special residential areas (WB), village areas (MD), mixed areas (MI), core areas (MK), commercial areas (GE), industrial areas (GI), special areas (SO).

Building requirement: A building requirement is the obligation of the owner, established by a decision of the municipality, to build on his property in accordance with the provisions of the development plan or to adapt an existing building or other structural facility to the provisions of the development plan within a reasonable period of time to be determined. However, since the owner usually derives compensation and transfer claims from this, such bids are very rarely issued in practice. The same applies to the instrument of the preservation statute.

Building Code (BauO): The building code is state law and an essential component of building law. As the main component of the building code, it regulates the conditions that must be observed for every building project.

Building Usage Ordinance (BauNVO): Federal regulation issued on the basis of the German Building Code for the use of land for construction purposes. The BauNVO defines, among other things, the type and extent of building use.

Development Plan: Binding urban land-use plan; contains the legally binding stipulations for the urban and green planning order in an area (e.g. type and extent of building use, construction methods, roads, green spaces, preservation of biotopes, planting of groups of trees).

Special urban planning law: The Special Urban Development Law (§§ 136ff. BauGB) deals with urban redevelopment and development measures that the municipality adopts to remedy urban development deficiencies in urban districts with the aim of significantly improving or redesigning them. The law defines criteria for the need for redevelopment and general objectives for these measures and regulates the participation of those affected. Since 2004, the chapter has also contained regulations on urban redevelopment and the Socially Integrative City.

Inventory Areas: Parts of the municipality that belong to the so-called inner area (§ 34 BauGB), in contrast to the outer area (§ 35 BauGB). A special case is the so-called "external area in the internal area", i.e. an undeveloped area in the middle of the internal area. For more details, see "privileged projects" and "projects in the inner area".

Stocking rate: Ratio of crown projection of all trees in an area to total area.

Evaluation: Evaluation step within a life cycle assessment in which the results of the life cycle inventory and the impact analysis are subjected to a socio-political value judgement. This can be done, for example, by weighting, grading or verbal argumentation.

Biowaste Treatment Facility: Plant for the fermentation of organic matter to biogas combined with a plant for the production of compost.

Combined heat and power plant (CHP): Combined heat and power units use the principle of cogeneration. They consist of the combination of a gas engine or a diesel engine with a generator driven by it to generate electricity. In addition to the waste heat of the combustion engine, the exhaust gases and the generator used for heating purposes, they generate electrical energy so that the primary energy used is utilised with a very high degree of efficiency.

Soil Conservation Clause: The soil protection clause is of central importance in the consideration process. Unjustified or excessive land use and soil sealing are not permitted. Economical use of land means that existing building land reserves must be fully utilised before new building areas are designated. This applies in rural areas as well as in densely populated areas. The wording of the soil protection clause (§ 1a para. 2 BauGB): "Land and soil should be used sparingly and with care; in this context, in order to reduce the additional use of land for building purposes, the possibilities for development in the municipality, in particular through the reclamation of land, redensification and other measures for internal development, are to be used and soil sealing is to be limited to the necessary extent. Land used for agriculture, forestry or residential purposes should only be converted to the extent necessary. These principles are to be taken into account in the consideration".

Bottom up: Term for a bottom-up modelling approach in which a technical model is chosen to represent reality via a functional context and which usually has a high degree of differentiation. Bottom-up models are explanatory in that it can be directly determined which parameter affects an outcome and how.

Service water: Water used in buildings, without drinking water quality.

Gross floor area: Building floor area x number of storeys.


CarSharing: Use of a motor vehicle by several persons / households.


3-ton system: Household waste bin system for separate collection of the biowaste, paper and residual waste fractions.


Eco Efficiency: Eco-efficiency is a key factor in assessing the sustainability of a company's production and business processes. When assessing eco-efficiency, a number of operational and production-specific criteria are evaluated:
- Efficiency of resource and energy use
- Reduction of toxic and hazardous substances
- Protection of water, soil and air
- Avoidance of incidents

Efficiency: The amount of effort, relative to accuracy and completeness, that users expend to achieve a particular goal (ISO 9241-11).

Elemental Flux: Flow of substances and energy taken from the environment without prior treatment by humans, or released into the environment without subsequent treatment by humans.

EMAS: Abbreviation for Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, the title of the EC regulation on eco-auditing.

Emissions: Air pollution, noise, vibrations, light, heat, radiation and similar phenomena emitted by an installation.

Energy Self-Sufficient Homes: Energy self-sufficient houses are houses that definitely no longer need a grid connection. They obtain all their energy completely from the sun themselves, without the usual "backup" from the grid. The best-known energy-autonomous house, which has had a genre-defining effect here, is the energy-autonomous solar house of the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft in Freiburg. Solar energy generation, storage technologies and economical consumption complement each other here to form a completely self-contained cycle of generation, storage and consumption. Energy self-sufficiency, which is demonstrated here for scientific reasons, is an urgent necessity or arises entirely of its own accord wherever there are simply no energy supply systems at all, but electricity and heat are still needed. The case occurs in Europe mainly in forest and holiday homes as well as sailing boats and camping facilities, but also in remote farms, mountain houses, telecommunication facilities, islands and entire villages that have so far been spared the blessing of a "grid connection". In many cases, it has been shown that it is more cost-effective to build up an independent regenerative energy supply with appropriate storage systems than to run high-voltage lines over distances of several kilometres. This applies in particular to whole regions of the "Third World", where the rural population still lives largely without electrification, where there are no electricity grids and where the wide dispersion of individual consumers hardly permits a central supply. Here, decentralized regenerative energy supply systems are often the most economical solution, since the transport of diesel over long distances is also expensive and already consumes a large part of the freight.
Source: Astrid Schneider: SolarArchitektur für Europa. Berlin, 1996

Compensation and takeover claims: A particular provision in a development plan, especially if it is a restriction on use as in the case of many environmental provisions, may reduce the value of the land concerned and/or cause economic difficulties for the owner. Under certain conditions, the owner can then demand that he be compensated for the loss of value or that the municipality buy the land from him. The question of whether the planning intention of the municipality exceeds the limit of the social obligation of the property or not is a regular point of dispute. Further details are regulated in §§ 40 to 44 BauGB.

Leasehold: The one-time sale of municipal land provides the municipality with high short-term income. In contrast, the leasehold or the interest charged stabilises the municipal income and prevents private speculation with the land and thus the corresponding additional consumption of land. In the long term, the municipality retains not only the land but also the associated scope for design.


Fecal Water: Toilet waste water also black water

FFH impact assessment: Sections 34 and 35 of the Federal Nature Conservation Act (Bundesnaturschutzgesetz, BNatSchG) stipulate that projects and plans must be assessed for their compatibility with the conservation objectives of a site of Community (i.e. European) importance (FFH site) or a European bird sanctuary before they are implemented or approved (Section 34 (1) sentence 1 BNatSchG; may be part of the environmental assessment). The conservation objectives include the maintenance or restoration of a favourable conservation status. If the assessment is negative, the plan or project is inadmissible.

Land Recycling: Land that has lost its previous function, such as vacant industrial or military sites, is being put to new use - for example by renovating the buildings, constructing new buildings or converting them into local recreation areas.

Land Use Plan: Preparatory urban land use plan; presents the intended type of land use for the entire municipality or city area as well as the requirements and measures for nature conservation and landscape management in the green corridors.

Functional Unit: Quantified benefit of a product system for use as a comparison unit in a life cycle assessment.


Community: The term community has a double meaning. It denotes both a geographically definable administrative unit and at the same time certain forms of communal living together, for example in neighbourhoods (e.g. church communities).
From: Häussermann and Siebel (2004): Stadtsoziologie - Eine Einführung. Frankfurt, p. 229.

Geothermal: Geothermal energy

Floor area ratio (GFZ): square metre of floor area (added area of all floors) per square metre of plot area.

Business tax: The trade tax contributes significantly to the financing of municipalities and is, for various reasons, a German exception and not found in comparable form abroad. The tax is levied on commercial enterprises as defined by income tax law, i.e. on sole proprietorships and partnerships engaged in commercial activities.

GIS: GIS stands for Geographic Information System. It is defined as a system consisting of hardware, software and procedures that captures, stores, manipulates, analyzes, models and outputs spatial data to solve complex planning and management problems (Goodvhild & Kemp,1990). GIS combines map and database and uses computer technology to open up geography to outside disciplines - such as marketing. It combines external information with internal data. The cartographic interface is nothing more than an entry point to a comprehensive database.

Greywater: Service water with the exception of faecal water.

Floor area ratio (GRZ): Square metre (built over) floor area per square metre
Lot Area.

Property Tax: The property tax is a tax on real property and is levied by the municipalities, which can vary the amount by means of the assessment rate. Because the overall level of property tax is based on very outdated standard values, i.e. property is given an excessive advantage over other types of property tax, a reform of property tax has been under discussion for some years. Environmental and nature conservation associations have proposed a reform under ecological aspects.

Real Estate Transfer Tax: The real estate transfer tax is a sales tax on the purchase of real estate and amounts to 3.5 percent of the purchase price of the property. The Länder are entitled to the revenue, which they can pass on to the municipalities. Environmental and nature conservation associations are calling for a reform of the real estate transfer tax in line with ecological principles.

Green Space Plan: The green space plan is the landscape planning contribution to the development plan. The main objectives of green space planning are the creation of green structures for the design of the cityscape and landscape, taking particular account of ecological concerns, as well as measures for the protection, maintenance and development of nature and the landscape. (The instrument of the green space plan is not known in all federal states. Instead, there are other plans with which the aforementioned concerns are introduced into the BPlan procedure).


Habitat II: a world conference on human settlements decided by the United Nations General Assembly; held in Istanbul, Turkey in 1996 with the themes "Adequate Housing for All" and "Sustainable Human Settlements in a World Moving Towards Urbanization" (Habitat I, 1976 in Vancouver, Canada)

Budget: A household is formed by all persons who live and work together, in particular who finance their livelihood together (multiple-person household). A person who manages alone forms his or her own household (single-person household), even if he or she shares an apartment with other persons.


Infrastructure: The technical as well as social facilities for the general interest of the population and the economic development of an area.

Infrastructure: Infrastructures are material facilities and human resources in a region that form the basis for the exercise of basic human functions (housing, work, recreation, transport, communication, etc.). They enable the social and economic development of the area concerned. In concrete terms, these are, for example, supply and disposal facilities, transport and communications networks, health and education facilities, etc. These are essentially public services. Through privatisation of public tasks, more and more privately operated utilities are also included.

Interior Projects: Projects within the context of built-up areas are also permissible without a development plan if they fit into the character of the immediate surroundings, the development is secured, the requirements for healthy living and working conditions are maintained and it is not a matter of disfigurement (§ 34 BauGB). Projects in the area of application of a development plan may not, of course, contradict the respective stipulations. A building permit is sufficient for the realisation of such projects; the requirements of the building regulations of the respective federal state apply. Many federal states have in the meantime exempted numerous building projects from a building permit, so that, for example, detached and semi-detached houses or garages often no longer require a permit. Their construction then only has to be notified to the building authorities.

Interior Development Plan: Serves the planning analysis, evaluation and presentation of the potentials and objectives for the inner development of the municipality, especially in the run-up to the preparation or amendment of the land use plan.

Input: Substance or energy supplied to a process or system. A substance can be both a raw material and a product.

Inversion: Formation of a layer that leads to an increase instead of a decrease in temperature with increasing altitude and thus prevents the vertical exchange of air. This leads to an accumulation of haze and dust particles, which can serve as condensation nuclei for water vapour (formation of smog).

Inert material: Material that is not attacked by chemicals and conversely does not attack other substances.

ISO 14.001: International standard "Environmental Management System" of the International Organization for Standardization from the 14,000 series of standards on environmental management. Alternative to EMAS for the certification of corporate environmental management systems.

ISO 14.040: International Life Cycle Assessment Standard "Principles and General Requirements" of the International Organization for Standardization from the 14,000 series of standards on environmental management.



Key figure: Evaluation variable in which the results of the inventory are aggregated, weighted or related to the performance of the system.

Core balance: In the case of a site- or company-related Life Cycle Assessment, describes the environmental impacts that occur directly within the company, e.g. within the company fence ("gate-to-gate"). Compare complementary balance sheet.

Small Settlement Area: (WS) Building area, which serves predominantly the accommodation of small settlements including Wongebäude with appropriate utility gardens ( 2 BauNVO). It is therefore a residential area of the rural area, which offers the residents an income supplement through self-sufficiency from horticultural use.

Climate Alliance: "Climate Alliance of European Cities with the Indian Peoples of Amazonia for the Preservation of the Earth's Atmosphere". Alliance of European cities among themselves, with the help of which the causes and problems of the threatening global climate changes are to be countered.
- Contribution of European cities to global climate protection: reduction of pollutants as well as CFC and tropical wood renunciation
- Contribution of indigenous peoples to climate protection:
Efforts to preserve their livelihoods, the tropical rainforests Accession of the City of Munich on 17.07.91.

Climate neutral is something other than CO2-free. Climate neutrality is achieved by compensating CO2 emissions rather than avoiding them. This is usually done by planting trees and reforestation. So-called emission reduction certificates from recognized and verified climate protection projects are now available all over the world. In a sense, an emitter "buys" the right to continue emitting emissions by actively and directly paying for or at least promoting climate protection measures. Strictly speaking, the term is consumer deception.

Climate Change Snafu: Connection between climatically favourable areas (unpolluted cold air/fresh air production areas) and climatically/air-hygienically polluted areas.

Climate-impacting pollutants: Effects of air pollutants on local and global climate (e.g. ozone).

Contamination: Contamination with radioactive substances, chemical pollutants or microorganisms.

Municipal financial equalization: The Basic Law guarantees the municipalities a percentage share of the community taxes to which the Länder are entitled, so that the municipalities can fulfil the tasks assigned to them by the state. The financial equalization or municipal financing laws of the Länder (analogous to the federal financial equalization of the Länder) regulate these financial allocations to the municipalities and districts in detail, including a partial redistribution of financial resources (apportionments) between the territorial authorities, and thus ensure a municipal financial equalization, among other things with the result that financially stronger municipalities support weaker municipalities.

Compensatory land pool: Compensation (and, if necessary, replacement) measures are sensibly bundled in a land pool, for example along a watercourse. The individual measures are based on intervention projects or corresponding plans elsewhere. In order to ensure that the land pool is a "rounded" affair, the municipality is actively stockpiling land through acquisition, exchange, easements or contractual security. The measure areas of the land pool itself can be secured by means of a separate "green" development plan, contracts or comparable legal instruments. In addition to the municipality, other bodies responsible for measures can be public authorities, nature conservation associations, foundations, landscape conservation farms, schools or committed citizens. A decision in principle by the local council gives the land pool political backing. See also "Ecological account".

Complementary balance: Extends a core balance sheet to include environmental impacts that occur outside the company. These can also occur in other companies. With the complementary balance sheet, the distinction between the purely site-related balance sheet and the product life cycle assessment becomes blurred.

Conversion: Conversion is the change of use of old buildings or areas. The term conversion is often used in connection with the conversion of old military areas into areas for civilian use (so-called land conversion).

Cost Accounting: In order to control profitability and determine the cost of goods sold, information on the consumption of production factors in the company is collected and compared with the material goods or services produced. This includes, for example, cost element, cost center and cost unit accounting.

Cost Object Unit Accounting: Part of cost accounting: The cost amounts incurred in the company are related to a unit of the cost objects (products), for example, as a basis for the sales price policy.

Critical Review: Is particularly required for life cycle assessments with comparative statements (e.g. product comparison). Must be carried out by independent internal or external experts.

Dome Process: Process in which several usable products are produced in combination. Makes it difficult to allocate raw material requirements or emissions to the individual products (see also Allocation).


Rural areas: Are characterised by rural settlement forms and a predominantly sparse settlement. In terms of settlement structure typification, they are located outside the conurbations and order areas. In the regional typology, they are referred to as rural regions, and those located particularly far away from conurbations are referred to as rural peripheral regions.

Landscape Plan: Presentation of local requirements and measures for the realisation of nature conservation and landscape management objectives. Part of the land use plan.

LCA: Abbreviation for Life Cycle Assessment, see also Life Cycle Assessment.

Lifestyle: Shaping the lifestyle of specific individuals or groups of individuals. Lifestyle comprises specific material, cultural and economic preferences. The value and norm concepts of the actors flow into the lifestyles. They are often linked to class affiliation, but are not necessarily tied to it. From: Häussermann and Siebel (2004): Urban Sociology - An Introduction. Frankfurt, p. 229.

life cycle (life cycle assessment): Successive and interconnected stages of a product system from raw material extraction to final disposal (cradle to grave).

Clay Lexicon:

Local Agenda 21: Agenda 21 is a development and environmental policy action programme for the 21st century, a guiding document for sustainable development, adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro (1992). The central theme of Agenda 21 is sustainable development. Sustainable development aims to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the opportunities of future generations by adapting economic, environmental and development policies.

Air Hygiene: deals with the quality and effects of air on human health.


Grasslands: More or less dry, usually nutrient-poor grass vegetation that has developed as a result of long-term nutrient removal (mowing, grazing).

Lean Meadow: rough pasture

Mixed Use Area: Residential buildings, commercial and office buildings, retail outlets, businesses, lodging establishments, commercial establishments, facilities for administration as well as ecclesiastical, cultural, social, health and sporting purposes, horticultural businesses, petrol stations, places of entertainment not typical for nuclear areas in commercially used parts.

Modal Split: Proportions of the traffic types (motorised individual traffic, local public transport, bicycle traffic and pedestrian traffic) in the traffic volume or expenditure

Module: Smallest part of a product system for which data are collected to create a life cycle assessment. This segmentation enables an efficient modular structure of LCAs using the same or similar processes.


Neighborhood: Term for the social group whose members interact with each other due to the commonality of the place of residence. Spatial proximity is considered decisive for the selection of interaction partners.
From: Häussermann and Siebel (2004): Stadtsoziologie - Eine Einführung. Frankfurt, p. 230.

Sustainability Lexicon (Kathy Beys Aachen Foundation)

Sustainability indicators: The processed and uniformly documented basic data of the current spatial monitoring form the basis for the calculation of indicators. The indicators are used to measure and assess spatial development at the level of districts or spatial planning regions. Currently, about 230 indicators are available to describe regional living conditions in the Federal Republic of Germany, which are updated annually. They can be obtained in the form of annual publications or on the INKAR CD-ROM from the self-publishing house of the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).

Local heat: Local heating is the supply of heat to individual buildings in close proximity to each other via heat pipes from a centrally located central heating station.

Grid City Model: The model describes an urban system with the help of the network metaphor as a structure of nodes and connections between them, which is spatially differentiated by a boundary (perimeter) against a hinterland and divided into scales with different levels of organization. An urban system is generated by four activities and spatially arranged on six territories.

Network City Method: Term for a set of tools to analyse urban systems, which are characterised by the network city model, for design purposes and to support them in their design.

Low temperature boilers: Boilers of this type manage with flow temperatures below 50°C and operate particularly economically. Almost all new Ö1 or gas special boilers are now offered as low-temperature boilers.

Low energy house standard: Requirements for the thermal insulation of houses based on values of the so-called "low-energy house". The thermal insulation of the low-energy house halves the heat loss via the building envelope compared to the requirements of the Warmeschutzverordnung of 1982.

Low-energy houses: Low-energy houses are generally buildings with a heating requirement of less than 70 kWh/m²a. The low-energy house standard can already be achieved with very good thermal insulation, high-quality windows and a tight building envelope free of thermal bridges. Very often these measures are supplemented by controlled ventilation - sometimes with heat recovery. Many buildings have a solar collector system designed to cover approx. 60% of the hot water demand on an annual average. Source: Astrid Schneider: SolarArchitektur für Europa. Berlin, 1996

Low-energy houses: consume less than 30 kWh/m²a. By comparison, new buildings from the 1970s consume up to 300 kilowatt hours of useful energy for heating per square metre and year. A building constructed in accordance with the Thermal Insulation Ordinance, which came into force at the beginning of 1995, requires just one third of this. Low-energy houses manage with one tenth. Source: Astrid Schneider: SolarArchitektur für Europa. Berlin, 1996

Zero-energy houses: Zero-energy houses are buildings that can generate all their energy (heat and electricity) themselves from solar energy on an annual average, but are not independent of the public electricity grid. Excess electricity is fed into the public power grid in summer and made available to other consumers, while in winter the zero-energy house itself draws energy from the power grid again. However, the annual balance is balanced. Buildings that "merely" do not require any energy source other than the sun to meet their heating energy and hot water needs are also often referred to as "zero energy houses". They might be better called "zero-heat energy buildings" to differentiate them. Buildings that consume less than 20 kWh/m²a of heating energy are also referred to as - at least almost - zero-energy houses, since even this consumption is almost not worth mentioning (compared to up to 400 kWh/m²a that conventional houses sometimes still require). The reason for this view is that the effort to cover even this minor residual demand via refined storage techniques still solar seems neither economically nor ecologically sensible. Source: Astrid Schneider: SolarArchitektur für Europa. Berlin, 1996

Mix of uses: The real development of our cities and municipalities was (and still is) characterised by spatial segregation and separation of the functions of living, working, retail, supply and leisure. Mixed use, however, is an important element of sustainable settlement development towards sustainable lifestyles and a city of short distances. In the meantime, there are exemplary mixed-use projects in many places, although they are still exceptions compared to the overwhelming mass of monostructured new development areas.



Project planning: Concrete approval and implementation planning of a building project.

Public Green: Public open spaces characterized by vegetation that are generally accessible to an unrestricted group of people.

Eco-audit: A management tool for the systematic, documented and periodic assessment of a company's performance, management and operations to protect the environment. Is referred to in the EC Regulation as environmental auditing. Colloquially often generic term for the topic of operational environmental management systems.

Life Cycle Assessment: Compilation and assessment of the input and output flows and the potential environmental impacts of a product system over the course of its life cycle. Steps of a life cycle assessment: definition of the objective and the scope of the assessment, life cycle inventory, impact assessment and evaluation. In the past, corporate life cycle assessments were understood to be company- or site-specific environmental assessments.

Eco-account: If measures of a compensation area pool are already carried out before a planned intervention, an eco-account is required for "booking". Of course, the nature conservation authority must recognise the measure and document its value in a compensation area register. The measure can later be assigned to an intervention or to a polluter who, according to the polluter pays principle, reimburses the costs incurred by the measure, which leads to the "derecognition" of the measure from the eco-account (see also §§135aff. BauGB).

Ecological priority area: Area where ecological measures have priority.

Organic farming: Sustainable management, conservation of natural resources, and the production and processing of products that are as unpolluted as possible.

Oikos: The private household was called oikos in antiquity. In contrast, the polis was the central marketplace and meeting place.
From: Häussermann and Siebel (2004): Stadtsoziologie - Eine Einführung. Frankfurt, p. 231.

Operationalization: In empirical social research. In empirical social research, this means making theoretical concepts and hypotheses available ("operational definition"). In empirical social research, this is the making available ("operational definition") of theoretical concepts and hypotheses in the sense of their empirical testability. This is achieved by specifying concrete, individually testable objectives and steps.

Output: Substance or energy emitted by a process or system. A substance can be a raw material as well as a product, intermediate, pollutant or waste.


Passive solar energy: Solar heat that can be used without the use of external energy sources to support building heating and to cover space heating requirements.

Petri net: Approach from theoretical computer science to describe causal dependencies and concurrent processes of a network. Basis of the material flow networks. The name goes back to the German mathematician Carl Adam Petri.

Constructed Wetland: Treatment plant in which polluted water is purified with the participation of plants, usually the role of the plants is less than that of the soil.

Planting requirement: The municipality may by notice oblige the owner to plant his property within a reasonable period of time to be determined in accordance with the provisions of the development plan pursuant to § 9 para. 1 No. 25. The same also applies to the order of a deconstruction and unsealing requirement.

Planning: Preparation of future actions on the basis of information acquisition and processing about the development and current state of the planning object.

PlusEnergyHouses: Architect Rolf Disch from Freiburg made the term known and had it protected by name law. These are houses that generate more energy than they consume over the annual average. The "Heliotrope" and the "Solar Settlement Schlierberg" in Plus energy standard are pioneering projects for sustainable construction and have gone down in the history of building.

Potential Natural Vegetation: Vegetation that would develop if man's farming activities were to cease.

Prosumer: The word is based on the combination of "producer" and "consumer". The neologism "prosumer" arose in the context of the feed-in of self-generated electricity from renewable energies or CHPs and electricity-generating heating systems that feed into the public grid. In the case of electricity, it is defined as follows: a prosumer is an electricity consumer who produces electricity to partially cover his own consumption and feeds surpluses into the grid if necessary. In general, a prosumer can also produce other things himself and offer them in the neighbourhood or in the settlement or to a wider public.

Primary energy: The energy contained in fuels (oil, natural gas, wind, solar, light, coal, biogas, wood, etc.) before conversion and transport.

Privileged projects and outdoor areas: A central regulation in the Building Code deals with building in the so-called external area (§ 35). The outer area includes all areas that do not belong to the inner area (which in turn is defined in § 34), i.e. not the "coherently developed districts". If a development plan is drawn up for an external area, this area is, however, declared to be an internal area by the resolution of the statute and a development is possible on this basis. Without a development plan, certain projects are permissible in the external area, in deviation from the basic building prohibition. These so-called privileged projects include agricultural projects, supply and disposal projects and energy generation projects. However, the land-use plan can partially intervene and thus virtually exclude the privileged status for certain parts of the municipality.


Neighborhood Park: Park associated with a residential neighborhood.


Rebound Effect. The rebound effect refers to the overcompensation of relative environmental relief (e.g. decoupling of gross national product and energy consumption) by further quantitative economic growth. Source: Udo E. Simonis (2003): Öko-Lexikon Munich: Beck.

Rainwater: Water that accumulates as a result of precipitation events.

Resource: In the narrower sense, raw materials and energy carriers; distinction between renewable resources such as food, wood, water and non-renewable resources such as raw materials of fossil fuels. From an economic point of view, the earth's resources are natural means of production (raw materials) for the economy. At the same time, they are our basis of life. In addition, the resource environment serves as an absorption medium for all human waste and emissions.

Rigole: Mostly gravel-filled ditch for water retention, infiltration and evaporation of rainwater runoff.


Remediation of contaminated sites: Treatment of contaminated sites (decontamination or securing) in order to reduce the risks posed by them.

Remediation Plan: The remediation plan is a remediation concept for a contaminated site in textual and graphic form for submission to the responsible authority and as a basis for the necessary approval procedure.

Life Cycle Inventory: Component of a life cycle assessment that comprises the compilation and quantification of inputs and outputs of a product system. An impact analysis or assessment is not yet carried out in a life cycle inventory.

Weak wind: Winds with a wind speed of less than 2 m/s, which do not have a significant air-hygienic relieving effect.

Settlement: any human settlement. According to the duration of use, a distinction is made between permanent settlements (permanently inhabited) and temporary settlements (short-term, inhabited for up to half a year), among the latter seasonal settlements (inhabited for several weeks, e.g. alpine pasture settlement, weekend settlement, nomadic camp) and ephemeral settlements (fleeting settlements, e.g. windbreaks, tent camps and other settlements of gamekeepers and hunter peoples). Forms of rural settlement include individual farm, hamlet, village, kibbutz, agro-town. Apart from the dwellings, the settlement also includes the plots of land, traffic and other public areas (e.g. green areas) as well as cult and protective facilities. Abandoned settlements are called deserted settlements. Source: Brockhaus, 1999

Urban Settlement: City. Source: Brockhaus, 1999

Settlement inventory: See existing areas.

Settlement Structure: Structure of the elements of design, order and use of a settlement. Structure-describing terms of a settlement or city are, among others, centre, suburb, quarter, etc.

Solar collector: Technical system for generating heat from sunlight. The solar radiation heats a black surface, the cooling of which is reduced by an upstream transparent cover (glass pane or similar). The absorber surface transfers the heat mostly to coils of circulating water for heating purposes.

Special Open Space: This area is also used by the New Munich Trade Fair Centre for open-air exhibitions, e.g. the construction machinery trade fair (BauMa).

Soziale Stadt (Socially Integrative City Programme): Socially Integrative City measures can be used to stabilise and upgrade districts which are disadvantaged by social deprivation and where there is a particular need for development (Section 171e BauGB).

City: Settlement with mostly non-agricultural functions (exception: agrarian town), characterised, among other things, by a certain size, unity of the town form, high building density, central functions in trade, culture and administration; in larger towns, the differentiation of the townscape leads to the formation of urban districts (e.g. city, residential districts, industrial areas). The statistical definition of a city is based only on a certain number of inhabitants, independent of the city law; for international comparisons, a minimum population of 20,000 seems to be useful. In Germany, a distinction is made between small (5,000 - 20,000 inhabitants), medium-sized (20,000 - 100,000 inhabitants) and large cities (over 100,000 inhabitants). The strong growth of larger cities, combined with higher traffic volumes due to the separation of living and working, as well as increasing environmental pollution (sewage, waste, smog), pose problems for city administrations, which are exacerbated by the difficult financial situation of municipalities. Furthermore, urban sociology, which deals with the problems of modern (big) city life and their causes, has pointed out the connection between city size and social behaviour, which manifests itself mainly in a stunting of social forms of life and culminates in sociopathological excesses (e.g. slums, increased crime rate). All these findings have an influence on urban planning (town planning), which is no longer the task of civil engineers alone, but also of ecologists, sociologists and social psychologists. Source: Brockhaus, 1999

Urban Planning: Urban planning, legally "urban land use planning", generally also called local planning, town planning, is intended to prepare and guide the entire development in towns and villages, the installations and facilities belonging to them as well as the use of the land in connection with the development in such a way that a socially just land use in accordance with the public welfare is ensured, an environment worthy of human beings is secured and the natural foundations of life are protected and developed. The municipality's urban land use planning is carried out in two stages in accordance with the Building Code: in the land use plan (preparatory urban land use plan), which covers the entire municipality and outlines the intended urban development of the municipality as a whole, and in the development plan (binding urban land use plan), which is to be developed from the land use plan. The development plan is at the same time the basis for the development and justifies land readjustment measures in preparation for and implementation of the plan (e.g. obligation to obtain permission for property transactions, right of first refusal, reallocation, expropriation). The choice of locations for community needs as well as central public and private facilities, the arrangement of green and open spaces in connection with housing and workplaces, appropriate routing and emission shielding of the main traffic lines are of particular importance for the quality of the future environment. Transport planning must therefore be integrated into urban land-use planning and deal with moving and stationary individual traffic, pedestrian traffic and local public transport (rail, bus). Urban land-use plans must be adapted to the objectives of supra-local spatial planning and regional planning.

Urban redevelopment measures (Urban Redevelopment East and West programmes): Districts suffering from considerable loss of urban function - meaning above all a permanent oversupply of housing - are to be redeveloped and thus made fit for the future (§ 171a BauGB). Urban redevelopment will be a central urban development task in the coming years, as the ageing and decline of the population will be accompanied by shrinking processes and changes in demand and supply in all areas of life. This will also have far-reaching consequences for urban development and represent an unprecedented challenge for urban planning.

Urban design: Subfield of urbanism. Urban planning has the task of guiding the spatial, especially the structural development in the municipal area. The field of activity includes both the urban planning with the spatial disposition of the different land uses up to the determination of the perimeter and the heights of the buildings as well as the realization of the planning via land policy (land management and land readjustment) as well as the development (development, subsequent facilities especially facilities of the public sector and other carriers, private utilities).

Urban Development: Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Federal Government and the Länder have jointly provided financial assistance for investments in the renewal and development of towns and municipalities within the framework of urban development funding. The aim is to strengthen the function of cities as business and residential locations.

Urban conservation of historical monuments (new Länder only): The urban development programme "Städtebaulicher Denkmalschutz" (urban monument protection) in the new federal states was introduced in 1991 by the federal government and the federal states.the aim of the programme is to preserve historic town centres. This includes not only the preservation of individual monuments, but also the revitalisation of historic city centres.

Urban framework plans: The urban development framework plan represents an additional planning level between the land use plan and the development plans. In an outline plan, larger urban contexts, concepts for function, use, design, social and ecological concerns are presented. Framework plans have an informal character, they define guidelines and objectives for politics and administration, on the basis of which, among other things, development plans are drawn up.

Urban redevelopment measure: Aims at the substantial improvement and transformation of an area to remedy urban planning deficiencies. (§ 136 BauGB)

Urban Development Agreement: The municipality can, for example, conclude urban development contracts with developers and investors and in this way reach agreements that go beyond the provisions of a development plan or ensure its rapid implementation (Section 11 BauGB). This option is particularly interesting for agreeing, securing and assuming the costs of environmental measures (compensatory planting, soil remediation). Other typical applications: Contract for the assumption of follow-up costs of infrastructure, planning costs or to secure a certain implementation period.

Location: Life cycle assessments ("corporate life cycle assessments") mostly refer to company sites, i.e. the premises on which the company's commercial activities take place. This also includes the movable and immovable property used in the course of this activity, which is part of the equipment and infrastructure.

High winds: Winds with a wind speed of more than 5 m/s, which lead to complete mixing of the air and thus contribute to air-hygienic relief.

Place: A passive component (node) of a material flow network that describes a state. Points are used in material flow balances (e.g. in "Umberto") for the distribution and storage of substances and energies.

Pitch Key: Indication of how many vehicle parking spaces must be provided per dwelling unit.

Material Flow Analysis: Method for recording the flows of matter and energy as well as the energy stores in a given space over a defined period of time.

Material flow (analysis): In order to be able to provide a certain quantity of end products or services, a more or less large quantity of raw and auxiliary materials must be moved, the total mass of which can exceed that of the end products many times over. For example, to produce a single computer, 10 to 20 tons of material must be moved (including the overburden of raw material extraction). This does not yet take into account the water requirement. The material flow analysis aims to keep the mass of material that no longer appears in the end product ("ecological rucksack") as low as possible without compromising on quality.

Radiation Nights: Formation of inversions on windless, cloudless nights by cool layers near the ground and warm layers above.

Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): Environmental assessment for plans and programmes, regulated in the Environmental Impact Assessment Act (UVPG). The environmental assessment of urban land-use plans is regulated in deviation from this in the Building Code.

Suburbanization: Process of urban expansion into the surrounding countryside, combined with landscape fragmentation by transport routes.

Sufficiency: Sufficiency addresses consumers and seeks concepts and approaches for reducing material consumption. The focus is on the development of new lifestyles and consumption patterns to support ecological structural change.

Succession Area: Area on which, without human intervention, the potential natural vegetation would develop as a result of the replacement of one organism community by another, caused by climate, soil or the life activity of the organisms themselves; generally for areas that are left to themselves for a certain period of time.

Scenario: An idea of a situation, society or event that arises when a simulation game is played out to the end. Scenarios serve to gain insights into future developments depending on initial conditions. With the help of models, future situation alternatives are usually derived as a logical consequence of different course settings. Together with an adequate database and a suitable model, "if-then" statements can be made, especially concerning the (temporal) change of environmental indicators.


Technical Infrastructure: All types of traffic facilities, communication facilities (e.g. post office) as well as the facilities of the supply and
Waste disposal (power and gas plants, water and sewage treatment plants, waste incineration, etc.).

Top-Down: Term for a modelling approach "from above", in which a mathematical or static model is chosen to represent reality and which usually has a high degree of aggregation. Top-down models are often econometric, i.e. they are based on a correlation of effects that is mediated by costs or prices (e.g. price elasticities). Due to the high aggregation of real processes into economic parameters, the degree of differentiation of results is usually low.

Drinking water: Water usually obtained or treated from groundwater. It must comply with the applicable drinking water quality standards.
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): A part of the administrative procedure used to decide on the reliability of projects. It includes identification, description and assessment of the effects of the project on: Man, animals, plants, soil, water, air, climate, landscape and their interactions as well as cultural and other material goods.


Apportionment: The reallocation procedure according to the German Building Code (§§ 45ff.) is a procedure for exchanging plots of land with the aim of rearranging undeveloped or developed plots of land in order to obtain purposefully designed plots of land. The procedure has proven itself in particular for the inner-city redensification of loosely built, but unfavourably developed settlements. The municipality orders the reallocation of a specific area and appoints a reallocation committee. The reallocation plan reorganises the land ownership situation in a mutual reconciliation of interests without the sale or purchase of land; no land transfer tax or fees are charged. None of the landowners is disadvantaged. The municipality finances the procedure with the land value increase skimmed off by the municipality. The purpose of the reallocation is either to create building rights for the first time on land that was previously unsuitable for building (development reallocation) or to make it easier to build on land that has already been built on (redesign reallocation).

Environmental Report: Special section of the explanatory memorandum to the urban land-use plan. Prohibition of negative or preventive planning: Urban land-use plans may not be drawn up solely with the aim of preventing an undesirable development or use. A specific representation or designation must be genuinely intended by the municipality and follow a planning concept. This in no way precludes the adoption of a development plan with exclusively "green" content (green, forest and agricultural land).

Environmental Transport: it consists of cycling, walking, public transport and car sharing.

Environmental Impact Study (EIS): Study on the environmental impact of a construction project; e.g. initiated by the client.

Urban areas: The new area category "Urban Areas" introduced in the course of the 2017 amendment to the BauGB makes it possible to realise housing even in commercially dominated locations without realising the balanced mix of uses between residential and non-residential uses required in the "Mixed Area". The permissible density values exceed those of the mixed-use area (GRZ 0.8; GFZ 3.0). The limit values for commercial noise during the day have also been slightly increased (3 decibels) compared to the mixed-use area. This could now make it (easier) to build housing in locations that were previously less suitable for residential development. The introduction of urban areas is also associated with the expectation that the previously practiced designation of mixed-use areas as a "detour solution" will be limited again accordingly.

Urban System: The urban system is a large-scale system composed of geogenic (earth-historically formed) and anthropogenic (culturally shaped) subsystems on an area of hundreds to tens of thousands of square kilometres and a density of hundreds of inhabitants per square kilometre. It is an extensive three-dimensional network of multiple social and physical linkages. Relatively high densities of people and goods exist in the nodes of this network. Strong flows of people, goods and information take place between these nodes of different densities. The colonized ecosystems of agriculture and forestry and the water bodies are integrated parts of this system.


Condensed areas: Area category in the settlement-structural typification, which is characterised by an increased concentration of inhabitants and workplaces. The conurbations and the peripheral areas with strong commuter links to them are referred to as order areas.

Front yard bylaws: The building codes of the federal states give municipalities the option of restricting the building over of private open spaces, such as front gardens. Many municipalities use these statutes to prevent the excessive construction of parking spaces and to preserve the special character of certain neighbourhoods.

Project and development plan (VEP) (= project-related development plan): The project-related development plan is a special form of development plan. It is used when an investor (developer) is to implement a project that has already been precisely outlined and undertakes to develop the project and the development on the basis of this plan agreed with the municipality. The municipality regulates the development measures to be provided with the investor by means of an implementation agreement. The project and development plan serves to accelerate the implementation of construction projects. On this basis, the municipality can be relatively certain that the planning will actually be realised. In principle, the same regulations apply to the project-related development plan as to the conventional development plan (§ 12 BauGB).


Commercial traffic: Commercial and industrial traffic.

Dwelling Unit: A dwelling unit is a unit that is structurally separated from other dwelling units and has its own access door. If two parties live in one unit and have only one access door, this is considered to be one residential unit.

Residential, general: Like purely residential areas, but with far fewer restrictions on buildings not used for residential purposes (BauNVO §4).

Residential, pure: Areas in which only housing including shops and non-interfering craft businesses is permitted (BauNVO §3).

Apartment: A dwelling is a grouping of a majority of rooms which, taken as a whole, must be of such a nature as to permit the maintenance of an independent household. The grouping of a majority of rooms must form a structurally separate, self-contained housing unit from other dwellings or rooms, in particular living rooms, and must have independent access. It is also required that the ancillary rooms necessary for running an independent household (kitchen, bath or shower, toilet) are available. The living space must be at least 23 square metres (m²).





Cistern: Collection and storage system for rainwater.