Rachel Barber

Rachel Barber

PhD Student

Department of Geography and Planning

Queen’s University


About Me

I am a PhD student in the Department of Geography and Planning at Queen’s University. I hold a Master in Planning from Queen’s University, as well as a Bachelor of Arts (Specialization in Géographie) and a Certificate of Geographic Techniques from Laurentian University.

Born and raised in Northern Ontario, I grew up observing the physical ramifications of urban decline. During my time in the North, I witnessed several school closures, program cuts at universities and colleges, the suspension of Northern Ontario’s only passenger train and the consequences of not receiving adequate or timely health care services, among other challenges. Many people living there believe resources are disproportionately distributed to Southern Ontario, leaving many Northern residents feeling powerless. During my SSHRC-funded doctoral studies, I strive to pioneer research on left-behind places in the Canadian context and to provide long-term solutions to reduce the tangible consequences felt in these communities in Northern Ontario and beyond.

Research Interests

Left-Behind Places; Shrinking Cities; Age-Friendly Communities

Notable Publications

A list of all research contributions can be found in my curriculum vitae.

Barber, R., Hartt, M. & Collins, P. (2024). Excessive Rightsizing? The Interdependence of Public School Closures and Population Shrinkage. Canadian Geographies, 68(1), 34-43.

Barber, R. (2023). Aging in Place, Stranded in Space: An Analysis of Health Care Access via Public Transportation in Elliot Lake. Applied Geography, 159, 103063.

Barber, R., Hartt, M. & Hollander, J. B. (2023). Ain’t No Valley Low Enough: A Case for Smart Decline. Plan Canada, 63(3), 53-55.

Collins, P. A., Barber, R., Masuda, J. R. & Snow, B. (2023). Socio-spatial dimensions of school closures and neighbourhood change in Ontario: An environmental injustice? Wellbeing, Space & Society, 4, 100138.

Notable Awards

SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2023-2027)

David Edney Research Travel Award (2024)

CAGONT Best Presentation Award (2023)

ACSP Student Travel Award (2023)

Department of Geography and Planning
Queen’s University
Instagram: @popplacelab