Dr. Maxwell Hartt
School of Urban and Regional Planning
Department of Geography and Planning
I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning and the Director of the Population and Place Research Lab. And I am utterly fascinated with cities and how they change. I am especially interested in the places and processes that are not often celebrated. Places that are shrinking, declining, or aging. In my research and teaching, I explore how population and economic changes shape urban areas and attitudes and how we can improve the places that are important to us.
My research follows two distinct, but related, themes that explore the relationship between significant demographic shifts, quality of life, and planning policy. The first theme focuses on shrinking cities and challenges the assumption that population loss and economic decline are intrinsically linked. I am interested in and working on a number of topics related to shrinking cities, including the suburbanization of population loss, the relationship between studentification and urban shrinkage, shrinking global cities, and the demographic trajectories of Canadian cities. The second theme explores the demographic aging of neighbourhoods and cities and the potential economic, social, cultural, and physical challenges and opportunities associated with aging. I am in the midst of several projects, including an exploration of how play can be integrated into the urban landscape to support aging (Aging Playfully), and an examination of how stories can help us better understand how to improve conditions for aging in place (Aging People, Aging Places). In addition to my main areas of research, I am also interested in how technology shapes planning processes - specifically how social media bots and artificial intelligence may undermine or augment participatory, democratic planning discourses.
PhD Planning, University of Waterloo
MSc Systems Science, University of Ottawa
Hon. BSc Mathematics, Saint Francis Xavier University
Publications (for full list see Curriculum Vitae):
- Hartt, M. (2021). Quietly Shrinking Cities: Canadian Urban Population Loss in an Age of Growth. University of British Columbia Press.
- Hartt, M., S. Biglieri, M. Rosenberg and S. Nelson (eds). (2021). Aging People, Aging Places: Experiences, Opportunities and Challenges of Growing Older in Canada. Policy Press.
Select Journal Articles
- Hartt, M., G. DeVerteuil & R. Potts. (2023). Age-Unfriendly by Design: Built Environment and Social Infrastructure Deficits in Suburban Melbourne. Journal of the American Planning Association, 89 (1): 31-44.
- Hartt, M., C. Lee & M. Empey-Salisbury. (2023) Planning for Play? A Systematic Literature Review. Journal of Planning Literature.
- Fernandez, B. & M. Hartt. (2022). Growing Shrinking Cities. Regional Studies, 56 (8): 1308-1319.
- Channer, N.S., M. Hartt & S. Biglieri. (2020). Aging-in-Place and the Spatial Distribution of Older Adult Vulnerability in Canada. Applied Geography, 125.
- Hartt, M. (2019). The Prevalence of Prosperous Shrinking Cities. Annals of American Association of Geographers, 109 (5): 1651-1670.
- Hartt, M. (2018). The Diversity of North American Shrinking Cities. Urban Studies, 55 (13): 2946-2959.
I am available to supervise students at both the Master’s (Geography or Planning) and Doctoral (Geography) levels. Please review the “Interested in Joining the Lab?” page on the Population and Place Research Lab website if you are interested in pursuing graduate research in any of the following topics:
- Shrinking cities
- Economic decline and/or transformation
- Age-friendly communities
- Play, ludic, and fun geographies/planning
Curriculum Vitae (pdf, 263kB)