Markus Lambracht

Markus Lambracht, M.A.

Department Geographie und Geowissenschaften
Department of Geography

Room: Room 02.267
Wetterkreuz 15
91058 Erlangen

Research Associate and Projectmanager in the Working Group Regional Development of Prof. Dr. Tobias Chilla




Research focus on European Spatial Development, Border Studies as well as Regional Economic Geography, thereby especially on quantitative analysis and data visualization.



‘Relief matters?’ The role of relief in socioeconomic development based on the example of the Alpine region.

Due to their geographical location, mountain regions are often perceived as socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. From the perspective of traditional geography, regions are seen as physically-spatially given and thus have long been subject to a deterministic understanding of space. In constructivist social geography, spaces were then seen as the results of social (negotiation) processes, which tends to reject the explanatory significance of the relief.

With the ‘material turn’ in the spatial sciences, concepts with a post-discursive orientation have increasingly come to prominence in recent times, emphasizing not only relational perspectives but also the importance of non-discursive ways of considering space. Materiality, i.e. the physical nature of spaces, has regained relevance after being broadly absent from constructivist approaches. In the context of these debates, functional arguments now assume a new significance.

This is where my research on the Alpine region in terms of socioeconomic development comes in. In my research, I focus on the role of relief – in the sense of topography and surface structure – in relation to the development of socio-economic trends in mountain regions. In a narrow sense, spatial patterns with comparable initial situations in terms of relief and location and their development paths are of particular interest. Through a combination of statistical calculations with remote sensing data, spatial patterns in the Alpine region are first identified and relations are explored. These spatial patterns are then assessed and contextualized by case studies.

The work highlights the role of surface structure as a material spatial aspect for the socioeconomic development of mountain regions. To overcome geo-deterministic simplifications, specifics are elaborated at the smallest possible spatial level (share of settlement area in the total area, differences in altitude, accessibility, etc.) and combined and scrutinised in a multi-faceted way.






  • Report on the State of the Alps, focus on Alpine towns (2020-2022) (on behalf of the Swiss Federal Office for Spatial Development, together with Climonomics)
  • ESPON ACTAREA (2020-2022): Thinking and planning in areas of territorial cooperation – web app (with Spatial Foresight and University of Geneva)


Curriculum Vitae

  • Since 2021: Research Associate and Projectmanager in the Working Group Regional Development of Prof. Dr. Tobias Chilla at the Institute of Geography
  • 2018 to 2021: Master studies in Cultural Geography (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg) with focus on Regional Development, Master thesis on „Cross-Border Governance – Cooperation intensity and degree of institutionalization of regional cross-border cooperation in German border regions“
  • 2017 to 2020: Student assistant at the Institute of Geography, i.a. in the Working Group Regional Development of Prof. Dr. Tobias Chilla
  • 2015 to 2019: Bachelor Studies in Cultural Geography (FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg)