3. Future - where do we go?
For further investigation and research one question remains open to be answered: Will and should there be such thing named smallest common denominator for the definition of planning terms, hence, is "harmonization" feasible and desirable?
Encouraged by experiences made with the publication of all existing Handbooks of Planning Terms in the past and the website at hand, the lead partner ARL won the impression that the inclusion of still lacking EU Member States into the so far existing data base is crucial for any attempt of harmonization of planning terms. EU policies influence mostly all Member States therefore it would make sense to gather the relevant information for all Member States not neglecting the maintenance of compiled data, and to reflect whether other aspects or details have to be regarded in order to complete the information requirements.
Terms are just an expression of the whole systems behind them which means that, if at all, systems have to be harmonized. Translations into English are just as good as the communication between legislature, executive (planners) and language experts. By translating terms or expressions into another language their legislative content or their definition in the source language loses, at least, a part of its meaning. This is because the addressee hearing the translated term compares automatically with what is known of the own system attributing the translated term another connotation. This requires an interdisciplinary approach for further research ideas aiming for harmonization.
National systems are undergoing repeatedly changes because of political decision making often due to elections and new governments. A stable process of data compilation as well as a group of responsible institutions seems to be necessary with respect to the website at hand. Responsibilities should be located in each Member State and on the level of the EU. The Final Conference of the COMMIN-Project will hopefully bring about new ideas and interested persons and institutions to overtake part of such responsibility.
Dr.-Ing. Evelyn Gustedt, Head of Department "Spatial Planning, Planning Related Policies", Academy of Spatial Research and Planning