Welcome to the Population and Place Research Lab’s Graduate Student Blog! Here you will find blog entries devised and written by graduate student members of the Research Lab. From experiences in the field to conference presentations to general reflections, the Graduate Student Blog offers an opportunity for you to peek inside the exciting life of a graduate student working on research related to population and place changes and the opportunities and challenges that come with them. It also gives you a chance to get to know some of the amazing people working in the Research Lab.


  • A Turn of the Century…Village
    Day 1 When I was two years old, I went on my first airplane: Toronto to Fort Lauderdale. I was visiting my grandparents in their brand-new condo in Century Village East (CVE), an age-restricted community in Deerfield Beach, Florida. With a suitcase filled with pencil crayons, plush toys, and Polly Pockets (the original three P’s), […]
  • Can OpenAI’s chat bot solve gentrification?
    On November 30, 2022, the San Francisco-based artificial intelligence (AI) research laboratory OpenAI launched the ChatGPT chatbot. ChatGPT is a software application developed to mimic human conversation based on user inputs. ChatGPT is trained using machine learning and can simulate ongoing dialog, respond to follow-up questions, admit mistakes, challenge inaccurate or incorrect statements, and reject […]
  • How to Crush Your First Poster Presentation
    This past November I had the opportunity to present at the poster session at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) Conference in Toronto. When I received the email saying that I was accepted to present, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to showcase our research to planning researchers and professionals from all […]
  • Everywhere and Nowhere at the Same Time: A Summary of My Time in Toronto.
    November is always a difficult month for me. At this point in the fall season the trees have lost most of their colourful leaves, the days are much shorter, and there is usually a pile of work to do as the end of the semester approaches. For all these reasons I was feel unmotivated and […]
  • Elliot Lake: The City that “Shocked” Me
    Northern Ontario is geographically huge. But for those of us who hail from there, much of it is very familiar. Elliot Lake is a small community 4 hours from my hometown of Powassan, but I’ve been hearing about it since I was a child. From the mall collapse in 2012, to stories from family about […]
    Although the byline states Madison Empey-Salisbury, this post is actually a collaboration (the first one on Aging Playfully!) between Madison and Rachel Barber. We are excited to tell you a bit about our experience at the OPPI (Ontario Professional Planners Institute) & OALA (Ontario Association of Landscape Architects) 2GETHER Conference back in September. Before we […]
  • London Calling: The OPPI & OALA Conference
    I’m very happy to say that this past week, I attended (and spoke at!) my first in-person in over three years. If you read my previous post on how the AAG Annual Meeting, you will know how much I enjoy conferences. I’m pleased to share that the OPPI (Ontario Professional Planners Institute) & OALA (Ontario […]
  • The Air Tastes Better Here
    August 14, 2022: 6:00am. That is the time I see when I check my clock. As someone who does not consider themselves a morning person, 6:00am is not exactly my favourite time of day. But today is different – it is travel day (kind of). My flight actually leaves tomorrow at 6:30am but between the […]
  • Reaching for the Clouds – CIP Conference in Whistler, BC
    Unable to travel to far destinations since 2020, I was starting to get the itch for adventure. Working remotely as a research assistant for the summer, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to see friends, family, and perhaps even visit communities I had never been to before. So when I found out that […]
  • On the Road Again (Fieldwork)
    Like many of you, I have not done much traveling in the past two years. I settled into the “new normal” of cancelled plans and future travel credits. The four-and-a-half-hour road trip between Ottawa and Toronto was the most action my suitcase had seen in months. After my trip to New York City to speak […]
  • Planning is People
    Hello, my name is Madison Empey-Salisbury, and I am one of the members of the Aging Playfully research team. I am currently working towards my Master of Urban and Regional Planning from Queen’s University, with a concentration in health and social planning. Before coming to Queen’s, I completed my Bachelor of Environmental Studies in Honours […]
  • AAG or Bust!
    I love conferences. From the tote bags filled with sponsor “swag”, the excited chatter that often fills a hotel meeting space, the winding line-ups for the buffet, and the opportunity to speak and learn from other professionals in your field. Over the past seven years, I have been privileged to be a part of many […]