Every place is different. And every place is a product of the people living there. But what happens when the number, age, background, language, income, or any other characteristic of the population shifts? How does the place react or change?

“While it is easy to marvel at the sheer scale of Tokyo, at Moscow’s intricate and extensive subway system, or at the dense beauty of Paris, it is important to remember that cities are defined not only by their urban structures but also by their people. And whereas buildings may stand for centuries, populations are much more fluid.” – Quietly Shrinking Cities

The Population and Place Research Lab (“The Pop Place”) at Queen’s University is dedicated to the study of how populations shape places and how places shape populations. More specifically, we are interested in how demographic shifts like the aging or shrinking of the population change communities and how communities can respond or guide that change.

Read about our Research, People, or Publications to learn more about population change and how (and how not) to plan for it.

Follow us on Twitter for regular updates or contact us directly if you’d like to know more about the project or even join the lab. We’d love to hear from you.


  • Presentation for German Ambassador to Canada
    Population and Place Research Lab Director Maxwell Hartt presented his work on shrinking cities to the German Ambassador to Canada Sabine Sparwasser, a delegate of German scientific council members, and a number of Queen’s administrators and fellow researchers. Wonderful discussions on the state of research and the huge potential for collaboration between the two nations.
  • New article!
    Population and Place Research Lab director Maxwell Hartt has a brand new article published in Town Planning Review. Co-authored with his former Cardiff University graduate student Lucy Benbow and his Queen’s University colleague David L.A. Gordon, the team examine the age-friendliness of Rhiwbina Garden Village in Wales. They found that many age-friendly characteristics aligned with […]
  • Welcome Jianing Sun!
    We are thrilled to welcome Jianing Sun to the Population and Place Research Lab as a visiting PhD student! Jianing is a third-year PhD student at Chongqing University in China. Her research focuses on the sustainable development of shrinking cities – of which there are many in China. She will be spending a full year […]
  • New publication in Computers, Environment and Urban Systems
    New Population and Place Research Lab publication “The role of bots in U.S. real estate development online communication” in the journal Computers, Environment and Urban Systems. The article is part of a larger collaborative project focused on social media bots in the planning discourse. The article is co-authored by Justin B. Hollander, Ruth Potts, Maxwell […]
  • CIP Symposium
    Population and Place Research Lab researcher Ellory Vincent presented her ongoing research at the Canadian Institute of Planner’s Planning Together: World Town Planning Day Student Symposium on November 8, 2022. Ellory was one of only eight presenters from all of Canada selected for the symposium. Her presentation was entitled “Playing & Place: Older Adult Perceptions […]
  • ACSP 2022 Toronto
    The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning conference is always a treat and this year was no exception. Hosted in nearby (and lovely) Toronto, quite a few of the Population and Place Research Lab members were able to attend. Director Maxwell Hartt spoke on a roundtable about social media bots and planning, researcher Ellory Vincent […]
  • Shrinking cities talk at University of Toronto Scarborough
    Population and Place Research Lab director Maxwell Hartt gave a talk about shrinking cities at the University of Toronto Scarborough on November 7, 2022. Following the talk there was some great questions and discussion from the students from the Department of Human Geographer. Special thanks to Dr. Julie Mah for the invite!

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