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Source: Fotolia / Spiber.de

The objective of the Federal Government's spatial planning policy is to support the convergence of living standards throughout Germany. This task is derived from the Basic Law and has to reflect the profound changes through which our society is going.

The size of the population (shrinkage rather than growth), its internal composition (more elderly people, more people who were born outside Germany) and its spatial distribution (urban sprawl, migration from North to South and East to West) present policymakers with adaptation challenges, some of which are completely new.

Our spatial planning policy develops strategies for addressing the antithetical development of growing and shrinking regions in the close vicinity of one another.

In addition, spatial planning and spatial development, today more than ever before, have to act under the conditions of international competition between locations. Spatial development objectives are focusing more on the conditions of the generation of prosperity than on its distribution. It is all about moving from a predominantly balance-based distribution to the provision of targeted support to the potential and strengths inherent in the regions.

The objective of converging living standards has to be reinterpreted in this context and fleshed out by pursuing appropriate spatial development policy approaches. Here, due regard must be paid to the different spatial conditions and potential for development, because the different regions also perform different functions as a result of their spatial structure and location.