Regional urbanization through knowledge-based economic activities - changing patterns of knowledge-intensive services and of creative activities in small and medium sized towns

Authors: Madeleine Wagner*, Heidelberg University, Germany, Anna Growe, Heidelberg University, Germany
Topics: Economic Geography, Urban Geography, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: knowled-based activities, creative activites, small and medium sized towns, regional urbanization
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Regency Ballroom, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Economic activities and their spatial anchoring have changed in the course of the 20th century due to the rise of an increasingly knowledge-based economy. In this context, one important question - that has not been answered concluding yet - is whether knowledge-based economic activities tend to favor exclusively large metropolises (also described as metropolization) or if regionalization processes can be initiated by knowledge-based economic activities, too. Traditionally, while analyzing spatial patterns of knowledge-based economic activities, the focus has been laid on large cities. The role of small and medium sized towns did not receive much attention in this strand of research. Therefore, even empirical studies including a focus on urban hinterlands (Growe 2016) mainly use aggregated spatial units as statistical basis that enable an understanding of large towns but not of small and medium sized towns - as multiple small and medium sized towns can be aggregated in one spatial unit. Empirical studies so far also showed that, depending on the type of knowledge-based economic activities, knowledge workers have different spatial requirements leading to different spatial patterns. Therefore, this paper presents results of a macro-analytical study using employment data (by occupation). Based on this data, changing spatial patterns of knowledge-intensive services and of creative activities within the German urban system of small and medium sized towns will be presented. The identified patterns will be explained based on the concepts of borrowed size and agglomeration shadow (Burger et al. 2015; Cardoso 2018), having different impact on the different types of activities.

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