The Danish spatial planning system

The state sets overall guidelines for planning, while the municipalities are responsible for translating the overall guidelines and visions into actual spatial planning through municipal plans and local development plans.

In Denmark, spatial planning has been decentralised and has involved the public in the decision-making process since the 1970s.

Today the municipalities plan how Danish cities/towns and landscapes are to develop within the overall state and regional guidelines.

All proposals are sent for hearing or public debate, and they are available on the Danish Environmental Portal.

Who does what?

The Danish Planning Act allocates the responsibility for planning in Denmark between the Danish Minister for Industry, Business and Financial Affairs, the five regional councils and the 98 municipal councils.

Municipal plans

The municipal plan sets the overall targets and guidelines for the individual municipality's development for a period of 12 years.

Local development plans

Local development plans are the foundation of the Danish spatial planning system. This is where the political strategy and objectives of the municipal plan are made tangible.

Law relating to adjoining properties and planning

Historically the law relating to adjoining properties has enabled the courts to resolve environmental conflicts between neighbours, however over time public regulation has gradually taken over much of the jurisdiction of the law relating to adjoining properties.