Zack Taylor

Assistant Professor
Director, Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance (CUP-LG)

Zack Taylor

PhD, University of Toronto
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 85169
Office: Social Science Centre 4166

Personal Website:
Google Scholar Profile Profile
ResearchGate Profile 

Research Interests

Professor Taylor specializes in urban political economy and Canadian and comparative politics and policymaking, with an empirical focus on historical and contemporary multi-level governance of cities. He also pursues parallel interests in municipal campaigns and elections, local public finance, and political geography. Professor Taylor is the first director of Western’s recently launched Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance. He is a non-practicing Registered Professional Planner in the province of Ontario and Fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs.

Graduate Supervision

Professor Taylor is excited to work with Political Science and Public Administration graduate students on a wide range of topics, including local and metropolitan governance, multi-level governance, public administration, urban politics, urban planning, ideas and institutions, and political geography.

Current Research Projects

1. Place and Politics

This project employs spatial analysis techniques to examine, first, how urban location and neighbourhood characteristics may influence electoral behaviour in local, provincial, and national elections, and second, how the relative spatial clustering of immigrant communities within ridings may drive political party strategy in national elections. This project was awarded an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2016.

2. The City in Comparative Political Development

Building on a growing American literature that examines the role of urbanization in American Political Development (APD), this project investigates urbanization as a motivator of change in Canadian politics and the national political economy since Confederation. 

3. The Politics of Regional Planning Policy in Toronto

Ontario's Greenbelt Plan (2005) and Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe (2006) are considered to be among the most ambitious regional land-use planning programs yet attempted in the industrialized West. This project seeks to understand why this policy was adopted while previous attempts over the past 40 years faltered, where the policy ideas came from, and what political dynamics and compromises led to the plan’s general acceptance by stakeholder groups and different branches and levels of government. In addition, the project assesses the prospects for the plans’ successful implementation in the context of ongoing political change.

Selected Publications

Shaping the Metropolis Taylor


Refereed Journal Articles

  • 2019: Silver, Daniel, Zack Taylor, and Fernando Calderón-Figueroa. “Populism in the City: The Case of Ford Nation.” International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society.
  • 2018: Taylor, Zack. “Pathways to Legitimacy.” Planning Theory. 
  • 2018: Taylor, Zack and Allen, Jeff. "A new tool for neighbourhood change research: The Canadian Longitudinal Census Tract Database, 1971–2016,” Canadian Geographer.
  • 2017: Taylor, Zack and Sandra McEleney. “Do Institutions and Rules Influence Electoral Accessibility and Competitiveness? Considering the 2014 Toronto Ward Elections,” Urban Affairs Review.
  • 2014: Taylor, Zack. “If Different, Then Why? Explaining the Divergent Political Development of Canadian and American Local Governance,” International Journal of Canadian Studies, 49(1), pp. 53–79.
  • 2013: Taylor, Zack. “Rethinking Planning Culture: A New Institutionalist Approach,” Town Planning Review, 84(6), pp. 683–702.
  • 2010: Taylor, Zack and Gabriel Eidelman. “Canadian Political Science and the City: A Limited Engagement,” Canadian Journal of Political Science, 43(4), pp. 961–81.
  • 2010: Eidelman, Gabriel and Zack Taylor. “Canadian Urban Politics: Another ‘Black Hole’?” Journal of Urban Affairs, 32(3), pp. 305–20.

Book Chapters

  • 2015: Taylor, Zack and Neil Bradford. “The New Localism: Canadian Urban Governance in the Twenty-First Century,” in Pierre Filion, Markus Moos, Ryan Walker, and Tara Vinodrai, eds., Canadian Cities in Transition, 5th ed., Toronto: Oxford University Press: 194–208.

Research Reports

  • 2018: Taylor, Zack. “Suburbanization and Politics.” In “The Future of the Suburbs: Policy Challenges and Opportunities in Canada.” School of Public Policy Briefing Paper 11(23), University of Calgary. 13–17.
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack. Good Governance at the Local Level: Meaning and Measurement. IMFG Papers on Municipal Finance and Governance 26. Toronto: Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance, University of Toronto.
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack and Leah Birnbaum. Toward Regional Resilience in Toronto: From Diagnosis to Action. Western Urban and Local Governance Working Paper 1. London: Local Government Program, Western University.
  • 2014: Taylor, Zack, Marcy Burchfield and Anna Kramer. Alberta Cities at the Crossroads: Urban Development Challenges and Opportunities in Historical and Comparative Perspective. SPP Research Papers 7(12). Calgary: School of Public Policy, University of Calgary.

Recent Conference Presentations

  • 2018: Taylor, Zack and Jack Lucas. “Putting Politics in its Place: Urbanization and the City in Canadian Political Development.” Urban Affairs Association, Toronto, ON (Apr.)
  • 2017: Taylor, Zack. “Institutional Performance and Metropolitan Governance in the United States and Canada: Comparing Minneapolis–St. Paul and Toronto, 1945–2015.” American Political Science Association, San Francisco, CA, USA (Sept.)
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack. “Legitimacy and the quest for regionalism in Portland, Oregon, and Vancouver, BC.” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Portland, Oregon, USA (Nov.)
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack. “Neighbourhood effects on electoral behaviour in a large city: Toronto, 1997–2014.” American Political Science Association, Philadelphia (Sept.)
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack. “Regionalism and legitimacy.” Simon Fraser University Rethinking the Region Confere, Vancouver (April)
  • 2016: Taylor, Zack. “Urbanizing political authority and development.” Canadian Political Science Association, Calgary, Alberta (May).
  • 2014: Taylor, Zack. “Explaining stability and change in long-term metropolitan development: Introducing the urban development policy regime.” Canadian Political Science Association, St. Catharines, Ontario (June).
  • 2013: Taylor, Zack. “Right-wing Populism and the Curious Revival of Regional Planning in Toronto.” Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Toronto (October).
  • 2013: Taylor, Zack. “The political ecology of voter turnout in the City of Toronto, 2003–10.” Canadian Political Science Association, Victoria, British Columbia (June).
  • 2012: Taylor, Zack. “TVA on the Fraser: Ideas, Institutions, and the Development of Regional Planning and Governance in Vancouver.” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA (November).
  • 2012: Taylor, Zack, Phil Triadafilopoulos and Chris Cochrane. “On the Backs of Immigrants? Conservative Politics and New Canadian Voters.” Canadian Political Science Association, Edmonton, Alberta (June).

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2016: Best Doctoral Dissertation, Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association.
  • 2010: Clarence N. Stone Scholar, Urban Politics Section, American Political Science Association.
  • 2009: Excellence in Planning Award, Planning Publications category, Canadian Institute of Planners.