UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, addresses pressing urban governance problems with rigorous and publicly-oriented research. Our research themes are 1) local and regional economic development; 2) urban sustainability; 3) housing policy. UPGo is led by Prof. David Wachsmuth of the School of Urban Planning.
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David Wachsmuth is the Canada Research Chair in Urban Governance at McGill University, where he is also an Assistant Professor in the School of Urban Planning and an Associate Member in the Department of Geography. He directs UPGo, the Urban Politics and Governance research group at McGill, where he leads a team of researchers investigating pressing urban governance problems related to economic development, environmental sustainability, and housing markets. He is the co-lead of the Adapting Urban Environments for the Future theme of the McGill Sustainability Systems Initiative , where he is part of a broad interdisciplinary team developing new ways of conceptualizing, measuring, and improving urban sustainability.
A major focus of his work has been explaining a transition in policy and planning from identifying the city as a global sustainability problem to identifying the city as a solution to global sustainability problems. He is one of the world’s leading experts on the impacts of short-term rental platforms such as Airbnb on cities around the world, and consults widely with municipalities and community organizations on designing appropriate regulations. Dr. Wachsmuth has published widely in top journals in urban studies, planning and geography, and his work has been covered extensively in the national and international media, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Associated Press, and the Washington Post. He is the Early Career Editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance and serves on the editorial boards of the journals Urban Geography and Urban Planning .
PhD in Sociology, 2014
New York University
MSc in Urban Planning, 2008
University of Toronto
BA (honours) in International Development Studies and Classics, 2004
An investigation into the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canadian urban neighbourhoods
A collaborative project with UC Santa Cruz on global urban sustainability thought and practice
A SSHRC-funded investigation into the impacts of short-term rentals on cities
Local sustainability planning, Regional economic development, Housing policy, The platform economy
Social and racial justice in planning, Housing and immigration, Short-term rentals, Urban sustainability
Participatory urban design and planning, Design and data visualization, Housing justice
Social relations in the housing sector, Short-term rentals and the platform economy
Housing justice, Financialization of housing, Urban governance
Political economy, Data analysis, Sustainable development
Spatial data science, Bayesian inference, Natural language processing
Smart cities, Place-making, Mobility
An overview of short-term rentals in the City of Toronto and the case for the City’s STR bylaws
An in-depth analysis of short-term rental patterns and trends in the Halifax Regional Municipality
An equity analysis of bike sharing in New York City
The first comprehensive analysis of short-term rental activity in Canada
A framework for analyzing the relationship between short-term rentals and gentrification, and a case study of New York City
All of the code for our quantitative analysis projects is freely available for replication and repurposing on our team Github page . We often work with proprietary data which we are unable to share, but where we are using public data we share that as well.
We are also working to develop strr, an R package for cleaning, analyzing and visualizing short-term rental data. We expect to release a stable version to CRAN in 2021, but the development version is now available for testing and feedback.