What is urban planning ?

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Context, definitions, objectives and procedures

Differdange, city of possibilities!

From a village to a city

With the beginning of the industrial revolution from the 18th century onwards, Differdange experienced the change from artisanal mining to industrial exploitation. In the course of industrialization, the company HADIR “Société anonyme des hauts-fourneaux de Differdange” erected the first two blast furnaces in Differdange in 1896.

On 4 August 1907 Differdange was granted the title of town by Grand Duke William IV of Luxembourg. The town is marked by its industrial history. The steel industry was for a long time the driving force of the Luxembourg economy. Since the merger in 2006 with ArcelorMittal (formerly ARBED), the company ArcelorMittal, a world leader in steel production, has always kept the centre of raw iron machining in Differdange. Until today, ArcelorMittal still operates several production centres in Luxembourg.

Differdange 2030

From the “Iron City” to creative economy!

Industrialization and the development of the metal industry in the 20th century quickly turned Differdange into a modern and lively town. After years of economic difficulties resulting from the steel crisis, Differdange now presents itself as a dynamic and active city.

In recent years, many projects have been planned and realized. These projects affect in particular creative economy, town planning, education, leisure, tourism as well as the social, environmental, cultural and commercial fields. With the elaboration of the new general development plan (PAG), Differdange is preparing itself to better respond to the challenges of the “city of tomorrow”.

The PAG defines the conditions for a sustainable development of our city in order to offer its inhabitants and visitors all the facilities and services worthy of a dynamic and evolving metropolis in the heart of a region in full mutation with a high quality of life.

Urban development

Urban development is an ongoing evolutionary process. The development strategy defines the fields of action for the policy and at the same time serves as a synchronizing instrument for future planning in order to improve and ensure the quality of life in our city. Urban development takes into account economic, social, cultural and environmental needs in order to create opportunities for economic investors and enterprises, thus ensuring the conditions for stable economic growth.

The main objective of sustainable urban development is the identification of development potentials while preserving natural resources through concepts of renewable energy, climate protection and efficient use of space.

The general development plan

A general development plan (PAG) exists for each municipality. It consists of a set of graphic and written prescriptions aimed at ensuring: rational use of land, harmonious development of urban and rural structures, respect for the cultural heritage and protection of the natural environment, public safety and hygiene, improvement of the quality of life of the population, rational use of energy. To these ends, the PAG covers the entire municipal territory.

The general development plan divides the municipal territory into various zones whose allocation and use it determines. The municipal council decides whether or not to amend a PAG on the basis of a general development plan and a preparatory study. Any person, natural or legal, who wishes to develop a plot of land or a building following an acquisition or reallocation can contact the municipality in order to submit either a request to modify a PAG or a request for a specific development plan (PAP). A modification of the PAG may be necessary when the planned project does not correspond to the existing PAG or PAP in terms of town and country planning or to the building regulations. The PAG will be revised and updated at least every six years, on the basis of a report and a decision of the municipal council. This deliberation is subject to the approval of the Minister of the Interior.

Every general development plan (PAG) consists of a graphic and a written part.

  • The written part defines the zones determined by the graphic part of the general development plan by setting the mode and, where applicable, the degree of land use.
  • The graphic part of the general development plan visualizes the land use of the entire municipal area and defines the various zones.
  • The master plan (schéma directeur) is part of the PAG. It determines the development options for the funds covering all the areas to be urbanized.

The specific development plan (PAP)

Specific development plans (PAPs) carry out and specify the nature of each area of the general development plan (PAG) of a municipality (with the exception of green areas, land subject to a land use plan, etc.). However, the PAPs remain subordinate to the PAG and the municipal building regulations.

They are approved by the municipal council and the Minister of the Interior. Only the municipality can request or modify a PAP for an existing district, i.e. an urbanized area where half of the plots are built on and where the land is fully serviced.

The modification of a PAP is necessary in the case of a change of use of a site requiring the modification of the PAG, for the development of land classified as a study area / deferred area or similar, subdivision of several parcels of land as well as for any development project that does not comply with the existing PAG / PAP or that does not comply with the municipal building by-law.


Department of the Urban Development

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eMail: developpementurbain[at]


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