Madeleine Wagner

Berliner Straße 48
Zimmer 106
Tel: +49 6221 54-5565


Madeleine Wagner, M.Sc.

Madeleine Wagner has been working as a research assistant and PhD student in the Regional Governance department since June 2017. She completed her Master’s degree in Geography with minors in Political Science and Economics at Heidelberg University. She previously studied her Bachelor’s degree in Geography at the Universities of Montpellier (Paul-Valéry Montpellier III) and Heidelberg with a minor in Public Law. In her master’s thesis, she investigated the importance of temporary spatial proximity for the innovation method Design Thinking as well as the resulting tension between innovation, creativity, trust and space.

Since 2013, Madeleine Wagner has been working as a student assistant in various research projects. For example, she supported the Department of Economic and Social Geography in the research project “Neo-Kunsthandwerk, digitale Technologie und die neue Rolle der Peripherie im Weltmarkt für stille und bewegte Bilder”, funded by the German Research Foundation. In addition, Madeleine Wagner worked in the Department of Regional Goverance in the project “Zwischen Netzwerk und Territorium: Leitbilder für die strategische Raumentwicklung in Europa und im Vergleich“ as a student assistent and also as a tutor for scientific work and key competencies.

As a research assistant, she was part of the transdisciplinary project “Bewertung und Wahrnehmung von Grün- und Freiflächen in urbanen Regionen im Kontext von Klimaschutz und Klimaanpassung (GREIF)“, which was carried out as a HEiKA-Research Partnership together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Research interests
  • Economic and Urban Geography
  • Cultural Infrastructures
  • Quantitative Empirical Social Research
Dissertation project

Small and Medium-Sized Towns as Workplaces in the Knowledge Economy

In Germany small and medium-sized cities in rural and polycentralized dense areas form a differentiated and spatially widespread network of urban locations. In addition to large cities, metropolitan regions and polycentric urban regions in particular are also considered to be locations with good infrastructure facilities and thus attractive sites for companies and company-related knowledge-intensive services. At the same time – thanks to their large amount of available space, a high quality of life and relatively low rental and land prices – small and medium-sized towns can provide advantages for the population as residential areas. Changes in the intersection of demographic and economic processes are leading to an increasing affinity for cities at different scales, which is summarized under the concept of reurbanization.

At the same time, however, in times of increasing digitalization and globalization, there are always new opportunities to exchange information over large distances using telecommunication technologies. As a result, traditionally important factors such as transport costs become less important for other factors such as transaction costs. This is accompanied by a new assessment of spatial determinants and thus locations of knowledge economy activities.

In the literature, the focus so far has been on the role of large cities in knowledge economy activities. Small and medium-sized cities, on the other hand, are still underresearched, even though a large part of the population lives there, especially in Europe. The focus of the dissertation project will therefore be on the role of small and medium-sized towns in economic, demographic and cultural reurbanization processes. The question to what extent small and medium-sized cities, possibly in gradations, can profit from the increasing affinity for cities, is investigated.

Klein- und Mittelstädte als Arbeitsorte in der Wissensökonomie
Current talks (selection)
  • Growe, A./Wagner, M. (2022): Die Rolle der Regiopolen in der Wissensökonomie. Vortrag auf dem 2. Fachforum des Forschungsprojekts „Regiopolen gestalten zum Thema „Regiopolen und Regiopolregionen für Deutschland – ein Mehrwert für Regionen und ihre Städte“ des Bundesministeriums für Wohnen, Stadtentwicklung und Bauwesen (BMWSB) und des Bundesministeriums des Inneren und für Heimat (BMI) in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR), online, 10. November 2022.
  • Wagner, M. (2022): Distribution of knowledge workers by knowledge bases in Germany - On the relationship between centers and small towns in the surrounding areas in a city-regional context. Vortrag auf dem Online-Workshop der ARL International Working Group "Small towns and metropolitan cores: towards cooperation?", 21.09.2022.
  • Wagner, M./Growe, A. (2022): Re-Thinking the Meaning of Small Towns for Local and Regional Development in Germany: Demographic, Economic and Cultural Aspects. Vortrag auf der IGU in Paris, Frankreich, 18.-22.07.2022.
  • Mager, C./Wagner, M. (2022): Cultural Infrastructures, Regional Governance and the Relocation of Events. Vortrag auf der IGU in Paris, Frankreich, 18.-22.07.2022.
  • Wagner, M./Growe, A. (2022): New Work Sites and Places of Encounter in the Knowledge Economy. Challenges for the Polycentric German Urban System. Vortrag auf der Konferenz. Challenges and Perspectives of Future Living Environments, Online-Vortrag, 28. bis 29. Januar 2022.
  • Wagner, M. (2022): Klein- und Mittelstädte zwischen Regionalisierung und Regiopolisierung. Vortrag in der Onlinevortragsreihe „SmallTown Talk“ des HochschulCampus KleinstadtForschung der Brandenburgisch Technischen Universität Cottbus-Senftenberg, Online- Vortrag, 27. Januar 2022.
  • Mager, C./Wagner, M. (2021): Geographies of Everyday Cultural (In)justice. Mapping Cultural Infrastructures in Rural Areas in Germany. Vortrag auf dem Annual Meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG), virtuelle Konferenz, 07. bis 11. April 2021.
  • Growe, A./Wagner, M. (2020): Wohnen und Arbeiten in Klein- und Mittelstädten - Regiopolisierung oder Regionalisierung? Vortrag auf der Dortmunder Konferenz 2020 in Dortmund, Deutschland, 17.-18.02.2020.
  • Mager, Ch./Wagner, M.(2019): Geographien integrieren?! Forschung jenseits von Disziplingrenzen und institutionellen Kontexten. Vortrag auf dem Deutschen Kongress für Geographie in Kiel, Deutschland, 25.-30.09.2019.
  • Wagner, M./Growe, A. (2019): Klein- und Mittelstädte als Profiteure von Regionalisierungsprozessen in der Wissensökonomie? – Entwicklungsdynamiken in Dienstleistung und Kreativwirtschaft. Vortrag auf dem Deutschen Kongress für Geographie in Kiel, Deutschland, 25.-30.09.2019.
  • Mager, Ch./Wagner, M. (2019): Assessment and Perception of Green and Open Spaces in Urban Regions in the Context of Climate Mitigation and Adaptation. Posterpräsentation auf dem HEiKA Day 2019, 18. Juli 2019 in Heidelberg
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