Zack Taylor

Associate Professor

Zack Taylor
PhD, University of Toronto
Telephone: 519.661.2111 ext. 85169

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 was the founding director of Western’s Centre for Urban Policy and Local Governance and leads NEST’s Canadian Communities Policy Observatory initiative. He is a Fellow at the Institute on Municipal Finance and Governance in the University of Toronto’s School of Cities and a non-practicing Registered Professional Planner. Since 2023, he has served as Co-Editor of the journal Territory, Politics, Governance.

Graduate Supervision

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

Current Research Projects

1. Place and Politics

How does space inflect politics? This project employs spatial analysis techniques to examine, first, how urban location and neighbourhood characteristics may influence electoral behaviour, and second, how the relative spatial clustering of groups within ridings may drive political party strategy in national elections. Initial research for this project was funded by an Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council in 2016–19, and further supported by small grants from the Faculty of Social Science. The Urban Archipelago, a book on place and politics in Toronto, Chicago, and London (UK), coauthored with Daniel Silver (Toronto) and Jan Doering (McGill), is in preparation.

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 the urban-rural divide and urbanization as a driver of political change in national politics since Confederation. This project, undertaken in collaboration with Jack Lucas (Calgary) and Dave Armstrong (Western) is funded by a 2019–24 Insight Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

3. Multi-Level Urban Governance in Theory and Practice

Cities and neighbourhoods are increasingly the targets of place-based public policies and municipalities increasingly function as policy makers rather than policy takers are full participants in intergovernmental policy partnerships. Professor Taylor researches current and historical multi-level governance processes and institutions in relation to cities and urbanization. His book Shaping the Metropolis, a comparative historical analysis of multi-level urban governance in Canada and the United States, was published in 2019. In collaboration with Neil Bradford (Huron), Alison Smith (Toronto), and Martin Horak (Western), he is also principal investigator of a 2019–23 Insight Development Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council on Canada’s Implicit Urban Policy.

4. Urban Political Economy and Local Elections

What influence does money have in politics and governance, and at the local level in particular? How do candidates allocate resources in election campaigns? Prof. Taylor is the principal investigator of the Money and Local Democracy Project / Projet sur l’argent et la democratie locale, a five-year, mixed-methods project investigating municipal campaign finance regulation and local election campaigning. Funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant, the project is a collaboration with Martin Horak, Sandra Breux (l’Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Montréal), and Kristin Good (Dalhousie). The project contributes new insights, both nationally and internationally, into whether differently configured campaign finance regimes create more competitive elections, how local candidates campaign, and enduring questions regarding the influence of money in politics.

5. Immigration Politics

Prof. Taylor is engaged in a long-term collaboration with Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos (Toronto) on Canadian immigration policy and politics in comparative perspective. Their most recent article is “The domestic politics of selective permeability: disaggregating the Canadian migration state,” published in the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies in 2023. 

Selected Publications

Shaping the Metropolis Taylor CoverBook

Refereed Journal Articles

Book Chapters

  • In Press. Slack, Enid and Zack Taylor. “Canada” in Nico Steytler, ed., Forum of Federations Handbook on Local Government in Federal Systems. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • In Press. Taylor, Zack. “From City Autonomy to the Metagovernance of Place.” In Richard Alpert, Nathalie Des Rosiers, and Alexandra Flynn, eds., Cities and the Constitution: Giving Local. Governments in Canada the Power They Need. Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • In Press. Taylor, Zack. “Postface.” In Sandra Breux and Anne Mévellec, eds., Dictionnaire politique de la scène municipale québécoise. Laval, QC: University of Laval Press, Québec City.
  • In Press. Taylor, Zack and Jonathan Taylor. “Boundary Battles in New Brunswick” in Sandeep Agrawal, ed., Municipal Boundary Battles. Edmonton, AB: University of Alberta Press.
  • In Press. Triadafilopoulos, Triadafilos and Zack Taylor. “Changing Contours of Migration Governance in Canada.” In Kiran Banerjee and Craig Damian Smith, eds., North American Migration. Montréal, QC: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • 2023. Stephens, Gail and Zack Taylor. “Leading Beyond: Building Relationships for Intergovernmental Collaboration.” In David Siegel, Michael Fenn, and Gordon Mackintosh, eds., The Roles of Canadian City Managers: In Their Own Words. Toronto: University of Toronto Press
  • 2022. Triadafilopoulos, Triadafilos and Zack Taylor. “Canada: The Quintessential Migration State?” In James F. Hollifield and Neil Foley, eds., Understanding Global Migration. Redwood City, CA: Stanford University Press.
  • 2020. Triadafilopoulos, Triadafilos and Zack Taylor. “The Political Foundations of Canadian Exceptionalism in Immigration Policy.” Chapter in Yiagadeesen Samy and Howard Duncan, eds., International Affairs and Canadian Migration Policy. London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2020. Taylor, Zack. “Toronto.” In Richardson Dilworth, ed., Oxford Bibliography of Urban Studies.
  • 2020. Taylor, Zack and Neil Bradford. 2020. “Governing Canadian Cities.” In Markus Moos, Ryan Walker, and Tara Vinodrai, eds., Canadian Cities in Transition, 6th ed., Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 33–50.
  • 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

Recent Research Funding

  • 2022–26. Money and Local Democracy Project / Projet sur l’argent et la démocratie locale. Principal Investigator with Co-Applicants Martin Horak (Western), Kristin Good (Dalhousie), and Sandra Breux (INRS-Urbanisation). SSHRC Insight Grant. $99,496
  • 2022–23. Research Network on Devolution and Local Autonomy. British Academy New Frontiers Seed Grant. £5,000
  • 2021–23. Canadian Census Discovery Partnership. Co-Investigator with PI Leanne Trimble (Toronto); CIs Alex Guindon (Concordia), Amber Leahey (Toronto), Graeme Campbell (Queen’s), Katherine Cuyler (Alberta), Sandra Sawchuck (Mount Saint Vincent), Susan Mowers (Ottawa), and Tracey Lauriault (Carleton). SSHRC Partnership Development Grant. $199,270
  • 2020–22. Canadian Communities Policy Observatory Project. Co-Investigator with Victoria Esses (Western) and David Armstrong (Western). Faculty of Social Science, Western University. $137,500
  • 2019–20. Party Strategy, Electoral Incentives, and the Immigrant Vote Since Confederation. Co-Investigator with PI Robert Wardhaugh (Western) and Collaborator Triadafilos Triadafilopoulos (Toronto). Collaborative Research Grant, Faculty of Social Science, Western University. $9,945
  • 2019–23. Canada’s Implicit National Urban Agenda: Multilevel Governance for Place-based Policy. PI with Co-Applicants Neil Bradford (Huron) and Alison Smith (Toronto). SSHRC Insight Development Grant. $62,542
  • 2019–24. Cities in Canadian Political Development. Co-Investigator with PI Jack Lucas (Calgary) and Collaborator Dave Armstrong (Western). SSHRC Insight Grant. $95,727
  • 2019–20. Early Postwar Canadian Urban Change Data Creation Project. Principal Investigator. Faculty Research Development Fund Research Grant, Faculty of Social Science, Western University. $8,925
  • 2017–20. The Process and Politics of Planning for Resilience in Canadian Cities. Collaborator with PI Carrie Mitchell (Waterloo), Co-Investigator Greg Oualahen (Ryerson), and Collaborator Sarah Burch (Waterloo). SSHRC Insight Development Grant. $65,518
  • 2016–19. Place and Politics Project. Principal Investigator with Co-Investigators Daniel Silver (Toronto) and Jan Doering (McGill), and collaborator Steven Farber (Toronto). SSHRC Insight Development Grant. $53,577
  • 2016–17. Canadian Neighbourhood Change Database Principal Investigator. Faculty Directed Research Fund Small Grant, Faculty of Social Science, Western University. $5,000

Selected Recent Conference Presentations

  • 2023. Taylor, Zack. “Candidate Perceptions of Election Rules in Canadian Municipal Elections: Preliminary Evidence from the 2022 Candidate Survey.” Canadian Political Science Association.
  • 2023. Good, Kristin and Zack Taylor. “Are Municipalities Still Property-Serving Corporations? Local Democracy, The Property Franchise and the Role of Municipalities Through the Eyes of Local Candidates.” Canadian Political Science Association.
  • 2022. Taylor, Zack, Jack Lucas, and Dave Armstrong. “The Development of the Urban-Rural Cleavage in Anglo-American Democracies.” American Political Science Association.
  • 2021. Taylor, Zack. “From City Autonomy to the Metagovernance of Place.” Massey Cities Summit: Constitutional Space for Cities.” Massey College, University of Toronto.
  • 2021. Taylor, Zack and Dave Armstrong. “Coalition Formation on a Nonpartisan City Council: Toronto, 1998–2020.” Southern Political Science Association.
  • 2020. Taylor, Zack. “The Politics of Process: Explaining the Revival of Provincial Planning for the Toronto Region in Historical Perspective.” Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.
  • 2019. Taylor, Zack. “Populism, Party Politics, and Immigration Policy in Canada.” Workshop on Canadian Exceptionalism, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto.
  • 2019. Taylor, Zack, Dan Silver, and Jan Doering. “The Spatial Articulation of Urban Political Cleavages: Evidence from Chicago, Toronto, and London.” American Political Science Association, Washington, DC.
  • 2019. Taylor, Zack. Panelist, “Ideas and Urban Political Development: US-UK-Canada Comparisons” in the “How Ideas Shape Urban Political Development” half-day short course, American Political Science Association, Washington, DC.
  • 2018. Allen, Jeff and Zack Taylor. “A New Tool for Neighbourhood Change Research: The Canadian Longitudinal Census Tract Database, 1971 to 2016. Statistics Canada: 100 years and Counting Conference, Ottawa.
  • 2018. Taylor, Zack and Jack Lucas. “Putting Politics in its Place: Urbanization and the City in Canadian Political Development.” Urban Affairs Association, Toronto.

Awards and Distinctions

  • 2020. Dean’s Excellence Award, Faculty of Social Science, Western University.
  • 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.