Digitizing Census Tract-Level Data

Zack Taylor

The Faculty of Social Science has awarded a Faculty Research Development Fund grant to Professor Zack Taylor, who will use it to digitize neighbourhood-scale data from the 1951, 1956, 1961, and 1966 Canadian Census.  Currently, no census tract-level data have been digitized prior to the 1971 Census year.

Making these data available to researchers will make it possible to study in new ways the historical development of, and change in, international and domestic migration, urban settlement patterns, inter-group relations, economic change, and political representation. He will hire and train two graduate students to perform the work over the summer, after which the information will be made publicly available through the ScholarsGeoPortal.

Shaping the Metropolis Book CoverProfessor Taylor has also recently published a new book, Shaping the Metropolis: Institutions and Urbanization in the United States and Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press). In the book, he compares the historical development of American and Canadian urban governance, both at the national level and through specific metropolitan case studies. Examining Minneapolis-St Paul and Portland, Oregon, in the United States, and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, Taylor shows how differences in the structure of governing institutions in American states and Canadian provinces cumulatively produced different forms of urban governance.

Arguing that since the nineteenth century American state governments have responded less effectively to rapid urban growth than Canadian provinces, he shows that the concentration of authority in Canadian provincial governments enabled the rapid adoption of coherent urban policies after the Second World War, while dispersed authority in American state governments fostered indecision and catered to parochial interests. 

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