The Academy

German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning

Aims and Mission

The German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning aims to support urban and regional spatial planning in theory and practice. The Academy also provides a forum in which people from a wide range of interests across the economy and society can pursue their shared interest in territorial development in discussion with planning professionals.

Our spatial environment, our towns and villages, landscape and open space and the social and technical infrastructure are all the result of a long cultural history in which the 21st Century is just the latest episode. We need to be aware of those historic and cultural connections, and at the same time keep a keen eye out for trends affecting the future, which we need to keep under constant review.

The German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning faces up to this challenge. It is an association of professionals working in many fields of spatial planning ranging from spatial and regional planning to town planning, landscape and open-space planning, transport policy, urban economic development, protection of our built heritage and social policy.

The Academy’s reputation is based on the competence, authority and commitment of its members. It supports communication between the various planning disciplines, between academic research, education and practice and between professionals and the general public.


The German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning:

  • is an association of professionals who have made an outstanding contribution in the field of urban, regional and spatial planning and related disciplines.
  • can trace its history back to the Free Academy of Town Planning, founded in 1922
  • is a registered not-for-profit association
  • has its registered office in Berlin, having returned there in 1990.


The constitution of the Academy limits membership to 400, not including members over 65. New members are appointed by the Executive Board, following nominations from the regional branches of the Academy (Landesgruppen). Professionals from abroad may become corresponding members. Organisations wishing to support the Academy’s work may become supporting members.


The main structures within the Academy are the General Assembly (Akademieversammlung) and the Executive Board (Präsidium), consisting of the President, the Vice President, the Academic Secretary, the chairs of the regional branches and three further members.

In 2015 the General Assembly elected Prof. Dr. (Univ.-Florenz) Elisabeth Merk as the President. The current Vice President is Paul Börsch of Erfurt. Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Julian Wékel, of Berlin and Darmstadt is the current Academic Secretary.

The names of other members of the Executive Board can be found on the web site www.dasl.de. It is located in Berlin.


The Academy works on topical as well as long-term aspects of urban and regional spatial planning. It offers comprehensive analysis of the direction, objectives and scope of urban and regional spatial planning, proposes and debates possible solutions to problems, offers a vision of future urban and regional spatial development and supports implementation of theory into practice.

In doing so it evaluates good practice in support of legislation at the federal and state (Land) level as well as political decision-making. Federal, state and local authorities regularly call on the Academy to apply its expertise in support of their activities.

The Academy operates at several different levels:

  • The main annual conference covers an important topic in urban and regional spatial development. The proceedings are disseminated to the broad professional public, to political bodies and to the media.
  • Scientific colloquia allow discussion of a particularly urgent current topic, often in co-operation with other academies or institutes, located wherever the issue is of particular relevance. For example, recently such colloquia have taken place in towns in the newer Federal States.
  • The regional branches (Landesgruppen) comment on topics relevant to their area. They work in cross-disciplinary teams, informing the public through discussion papers and lectures, and issuing statements on current topics.
  • The Academy and its working groups issue statements on spatial policy, legislation and other current questions of urban and regional spatial planning.
  • The Academy houses three institutes: the Institute for Town Planning (Institut für Städtebau) in Berlin, the Institute for Town Planning and Housing (Institut für Städtebau und Wohnungswesen) in Munich and the Central Institute for Spatial Research (Zentralinstitut für Raumforschung) in Münster.

Regional Branches

The Academy is divided into regional branches (Landesgruppen)

  • Baden-Wurttemberg
  • Bavaria
  • Berlin-Brandenburg
  • Hamburg, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Schleswig-Holstein
  • Hessen, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland
  • Lower Saxony, Bremen
  • North Rhine-Westphalia
  • Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia

The regional branches elect a chair and a vice-chair from among their members.
The administrative office in Berlin supports the work of the regional branches. They organise the annual conference of the Academy in collaboration with the Academic Secretary.

The Institutes of the Academy

The Academy’s institutes in Berlin and Munich support postgraduate education of professional planners. The courses and events they offer cover urban, regional and spatial planning topics both at a general level and as applied to key current issues, for example the implications of legislative changes, new developments or new technical directives relating to planning practice.

The Institutes attach great importance to an inter-disciplinary approach to strengthen understanding of the many tasks of planning, particularly co-ordination and assessment.
Each year the Berlin Institute offers courses over several weeks for civil servants in federal, state and local government.

The Institute in Münster contributes to the further development of the legal basis for planning and assists in implementing legislation.

An annual symposium brings together all the achievements of the institutes with special emphasis on research reports.

German Town Planning Award

Since 2006 the Academy has awarded the Biennial German Town Planning Award, giving recognition to outstanding examples of contemporary and sustainable urban design and development. Particularly innovative concepts are given a Special Mention.

The Awards Ceremony includes a symposium focusing on current questions of urban development.
The Patron of the Awards is the President of the German Association of Cities (Deutscher Städtetag), currently Christian Ude, the Mayor of Munich. The Award is financed by the Wüstenrot Foundation.

Partnerships of the Academy

The Academy collaborates with related academies as well as with other associations, local and regional bodies and individuals in Germany and abroad. It is a corresponding member of the European Council of Spatial Planners (ECTP).
This collaboration includes joint conferences, issuing of joint statements and challenges to discussion on current topics.
The Academy has benefited particularly from collaboration with the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (Akademie für Raumforschung und Landesplanung) and with the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung) in recent years.
The regional branches work with state and local government as well as with associations in their region.
The location of the Academy’s conference rotates round the regions which raises the local profile of regional branches.
The Academy is committed to the aims of the “Building Culture Foundation“ (Stiftung Baukultur) and it is represented on the governing bodies of the Foundation.

Public relations

The Academy’s main annual conference and its scientific colloquia are open to the public, and are of national interest. The main conferences focus on long-term issues, while the scientific colloquia highlight current topics such as Federal Urban Regeneration Projects (Stadtumbau Ost und West) and the Federal Social City programme (Soziale Stadt).

The preparatory research work for conferences and their proceedings are published.

The Year Book (Almanach) of the Academy outlines the most important results of the Academy’s work and conferences.
These publications are disseminated to the professional public, administrative bodies, associations and to policy makers and decision makers at federal, state and local level. The Academy contributes in this way to professional and political opinion formation.

The Academy’s web site www.dasl.de provides key information and the opportunity for professional discussion.

The German Academy for Urban and Regional Spatial Planning

Administrative office,
Bismarckstraße 107
D – 10625 Berlin

Tel: ++49.(0)30.230822-31,
Fax: ++49.(0)30.230822-32,
E-Mail: info@dasl.de.