A first step to a common language and terminology in Spatial Planning in Europe

In spatial planning in Europe the same term, such as “territory”, “plan”, “project”, and “spatial planning” correspond to different concepts in some countries of Europe. Even when the same word is used, the corresponding concepts are different. Such is the case with “aménagement du territoire”, which has different meanings in France, Belgium and Luxembourg. Indeed, very few terms in spatial planning have a European common interpretation. It is important to avoid ambiguous terminology.

While respecting local culture and traditions, it is important to have a common language and terminology in spatial planning. This is needed to share problems, to discuss practices, to debate common principles and prospective solutions. Indeed, other fields such as mathematics, physics, chemistry and engineering have a common language.

Glossaries can contribute to the reduction of ambiguous and confusion terminology. That would be the first step.

The CEMAT, European Conference of Ministers of Spatial Planning of the Council of Europe, created in 2007 the Spatial Development Glossary with 68 terms and concepts used in spatial planning. The glossary was published in English and French. 

With the agreement of CEMAT, ECTP-CEU is promoting the translation of this glossary to other European languages. The translation is made by local spatial planning institutions.

You can consult in the ECTP-CEU website the versions in: Bulgarian, Dutch, English, French, Italian, Macedonian, Portuguese, Romanian, Serb, and Spanish. See here.