Regional Planning (1989)
in: Environment and planning. C, Government and policy, Volume 7, Issue 4, p. 395-402
Spatial planning at the regional level is a particularly good example of 'centralization versus decentralization' in a federal system. In one respect the region is dependent on the central level, as far as its legal bases, organizational forms, and planning tasks are concerned; but the cities and counties should be allowed to specify the functions they perform in their own region. This is the crux of the conflict in finding an effective balance between centralization and decentralization. Solutions to date in the FRG have favored a progressive centralization. Because of the increasing economic and ecological problems with which the regions are faced, this centralist solution is no longer tenable and decentralizing reforms are now required and under discussion. These concern the institutional organization and functions of the regions, a mobilization of the capacities available in the respective regions for solving their problems, plus a gradual shift to new region-specific planning. Thus, changes are occurring in regional planning which pave the way for a more decentralized planning process. However, in spite of the new understanding, even at central level, that the regions are capable of contributing efficient solutions to actual problems, these changes have not yet achieved a breakthrough in planning practice.