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National Urban Development Policy

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Urban Development and Public Space

We all meet in the public space of our cities and communities. It is shaped by our use and its urban design. How can planning and building culture contribute to public spaces reflecting the goals and values of our community, creating identity and promoting our social coexistence?

Designing the public space

A fundamental characteristic of the European city is its public space. If it is freely accessible, safe and well designed, it enables equal social encounters. It creates identity, enables social participation and creates a feeling of belonging. For social coexistence, public space has always been of central importance: Here people continue to stand up for their own political position and show their faces.
The public space is not only shaped by the diverse uses of people, but also strongly by the urban design - as a testimony to the building culture that has often existed for many centuries. The balancing act between historical identity, authenticity and quality on the one hand and new requirements for the sustainable city on the other hand is a major challenge for the planning and building culture. Among others, central questions on the topic include:

  • How is the public space organised with its multitude of functions and in high quality?
  • What is a "fair distribution"?
  • How can the public space be inclusive?
  • What role do commercialisation and surveillance play?
  • What is the right degree of density and free space?

Planning and building culture: in dialogue

All of this can and must be openly discussed and agreed in a city as a contribution to the common good. Transparent competition procedures, planning workshops and a continuous dialogue on the function and design of public space and urban planning enable a creative discussion process, create balanced results and stand for a good planning and building culture.
Building culture affects the entire built environment and the interaction of all those involved. The public sector, as a responsible builder, should also act as a role model for urban and image-defining projects of private sponsors - in building construction as well as in the design of public spaces. In addition, the quality of all planning and construction processes must be ensured (e.g. through guidelines) and support building culture education. Because ultimately, liveable, intelligently structured living quarters and a valued public space are created through active use. For this purpose, it should be well designed and able to react dynamically to the ongoing change in use. New usage requirements, such as infrastructures for new forms of mobility, always with great responsibility for the history of the city and its importance for future generations.
As an open platform, network and innovation forum, the national urban development policy is an indispensable framework and part of the planning and building culture in Germany. It wants to raise public awareness for the importance of building culture, the advantages of sustainable urban development and the functions of public spaces.