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Department of Spatial Planning

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Land policy deals with the relation between spatial planning and property rights. It can be understood as public interventions in the allocation and distribution of land.

The chair of Land Policy, Land Management and Municipal Surveying researches and teaches on land policy and its relations to spatial planning. Special emphasis is given to strategies of municipal land policy in pursuit of political goals such as the provision of housing, the reduction of land use, or urban densification. In addition to these topics, the impact of climate change on property rights is also an important component of teaching and research. In this context, students are taught basic knowledge as well as specialized thematic focuses in the bachelor's and master's degree programs of the Department of Spatial Planning.

Teaching focuses on the relationship between private land and spatial planning. In the bachelor’s degree, the focus is on understanding, application and further development of land policy and land management (Module 14). In the master’s programs (incl. SPRING), the focus is on the strategic application and further development of strategies and instruments of land policy.

Research focus


Land saving and housing shortages represent two of the major planning challenges for dealing with land. However, they conflict with each other. Redensification can help to solve this conflict. The department is involved in various research projects on land policy strategies for mobilizing redensification potentials.

Climate Change & Property

Floods, droughts, and heavy rains affect land uses. Many mitigation measures require land - ranging from "room for the rivers" to increase water retention to private precautionary measures, even in areas previously considered flood proof. Most of the land on which such measures are being implemented is privately owned or occupied. Dealing with the consequences of climate change is thus a land policy challenge.

Problem properties

Land is a scarce commodity that requires efficient use. Vacancies - intentional or unintentional - therefore require land policy interventions. Gaps between buildings, problem properties (“junk properties”) or underused areas also pose major challenges in this respect, since interventions always involve interventions in private property. Valuation and land policy strategies can help to identify possible solutions.

Land policy Europe-wide

Challenges of land policy are not limited to nation states. Rather, an internationally comparative land policy can open new perspectives and also contribute to a better understanding of one's own system. A look at neighboring European countries as well as international exchange in research projects and networks are therefore an essential part of teaching and research at the department.