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.


  • New Pop Place members!
    We are absolutely thrilled to welcome three new members to the Population and Place Research Lab. Congratulations and welcome to Sarah Mallen, Jennifer Rodriguez, and Caley Savage!
  • G7 Research Summit on Healthy Aging
    Dr. Maxwell Hartt was recently invited to participate in the G7 Research Summit on Healthy Aging in Niagara Falls, Canada. It was a tremendous opportunity to discuss and debate the needs, opportunities, and future of healthy aging with a wide range of experts. The summit will culminate in a policy brief from the Royal Society… Read more: G7 Research Summit on Healthy Aging
  • New Publication: School Closures in Shrinking Cities
    Pop Place member Rachel Barber, Director Maxwell Hartt, and Queen’s University colleague Patricia Collins recently had an article published in the November edition of the Municipal World magazine. Their article, “School Closures in Shrinking Cities”, compares school closures that occurred in two shrinking cities in Ontario between 2011 and 2021: Elliot Lake and North Bay.
  • Healthy Cities Conference
    Nishant Dave presented a collaborative paper entitled “WHO Plays? Older Adults, Play, and Age-Friendly Cities” at the Second Annual Healthy Cities Conference. The paper is co-authored by Dr. Maxwell Hartt, Janine Dodge, Rachel Barber, Victoria McCutcheon, and Marley Gryfe.
  • Canadian Association of Geographers Ontario Division
    Pop Place member Rachel Barber presented a collaborative paper entitled “Closed School Properties in Ontario: How Are They Repurposed?”. The paper is co-authored by Dr. Patricia Collins and Dr. Jeff Masuda.
  • Canadian Association of Gerontology
    Dr. Maxwell Hartt and Rachel Barber both had collaborative work presented at the Canadian Association of Gerontology Conference held in Toronto, Canada. Both papers were led by Population and Place Affiliated Researcher Dr. Samantha Biglieri (Toronto Metropolitan University). The presentation details are below: Biglieri, S., M. Hartt, M. Turesky, R. Chowdhury & R. Barber. Aging… Read more: Canadian Association of Gerontology
  • Pop Place Members Present at ACSP Conference
    Several Pop Place members had the opportunity to present research at the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning Conference in Chicago: Rachel Barber: Beyond the Driver’s Seat: An Analysis of Walking and Public Transportation Routes in Elliot Lake Marley Gryfe (poster presentation): Age-playful Planning: Assessing Older Adult Play Environments Jianing Sun: Age-Friendly Shrinking Cities in… Read more: Pop Place Members Present at ACSP Conference

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