Planning cultures in exchange – evidence derived from a cross-border simulation game


  • Karina Pallagst RPTU Kaiserslautern


planning cultures, border regions, spatial planning, simulation game




Considerable institutional and cultural settings have shaped spatial planning systems with comparable features; however, such systems have been adapted to specific cultural, normative, and spatial conditions. Previous research on planning cultures demonstrates that in view of existing challenges for planning there might be planning cultures that are not constituted by geographic entities (nations, regions, cities), but also by topics framed by specific planning tasks. This could open up a new research field of ‘topical planning cultures’ (Pallagst et al 2021).

The cross-border context displays different normative regulations, policies, strategies and spatial concepts, and furthermore also beliefs and values regarding spatial planning. This enhances the complexity of planning cultures to a certain extent. In this setting, the exchange of knowledge about different planning practices, processes and instruments of spatial planning will be a core competence of cross border development (Pallagst, Hartz, Caesar 2018). Additional challenges might evolve with specific cross-border instruments, such as spatial development concepts (Caesar, Pallagst 2018), or EU funding with the aim of sustaining territorial cohesion. In this specific context the possibility might occur that a specific cross-border planning cultures will be shaped, based on longstanding experience in cooperation.

Cross border regions offer the possibility to investigate the principles of planning in a comparative mode, thus changes in planning cultures might be detected. The project “Planning Borderlands” investigates cross-border territorial development. Its objective is to analyse the role of planning cultures in the processes of cross-border cooperation in spatial development. Here, we focus on the cross-border spaces along the French-German border in the Greater Region and along the German-Polish border in the Brandenburg-Lebus area. The analysis aims to produce evidence on the differences and similarities between the involved planning cultures as well as the specificities on the cross-border level. One major empirical step of the project was to carry out a simulation game on cross-border cooperation from the perspective of spatial planning in the French-German and German-Polish border areas. The game simulated a fictitious situation in which barriers to cross-border cooperation in the area of spatial development were removed, and practitioners in spatial planning had the chance for an exchange on their respective tasks.

The presentation features research results, in particular of the cross-border simulation game, with the purpose of highlighting opportunities and challenges of cross-border spatial planning along the French-German border and the German-Polish border in a comparative mode.


Pallagst, K; Fleschurz, R.; Nothof, S.; Uemura, T. (2021) Shrinking cities - implications for planning cultures? In: Urban Studies 58(1); Online first December 17, 2019; 164-181;

Pallagst, K; Hartz, A; Caesar, B. (Hrsg.) (2018) Border Futures – Zukunft Grenze – Avenir Frontière. Zukunftsfähigkeit grenzüberschreitender Zusammenarbeit“; Arbeitsberichte der ARL, Heft 20. Hannover.

Caesar, B.; Pallagst, K. (2018) Spatial development concepts – a cross-border planning tool with a future?! Experiences from the German borderlands; in: Borders in Perspective - Thematic issue Cross border territorial development – challenges and opportunities; 1/1 2018, 5-19.