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Laura E Taylor

Laura E Taylor

Associate Professor

MES Coordinator


PhD Cultural & Historical Geography, University of Toronto
MES (Evolution and Change in City Form , York University
BES Urban & Regional Planning, University of Waterloo

Research Keywords

Urban & Regional Planning; Climate Change; Political Ecology Of Exurbia; Exurban & Peri-Urban Planning; Nature & Environmental Politics In Urban & Regional Planning; Climate Adaptation & Mitigation & Land-Use Planning; Rural Planning; Planning & Growth Management: Greenbelt Planning; Settlement & Planning Histories In & Around Toronto.

Laura E Taylor

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J1P3

416 736 2100

Research Interests

I am interested in nature and environmental politics in urban and regional planning. Toronto is in the centre of an urban region that is home to one-quarter of Canada’s population. The Toronto urban region is a microcosm of global issues related to environmental and urban change, for example, how do we go about conserving nature close to where we live? Within this region, people live in many different kinds of urban and suburban neighbourhoods as well as exurban and rural areas in the countryside and cottage country. Where people live and work—the landscapes of people’s everyday lives—are shaped by a myriad of environmental, social, economic, and political processes into which land-use planning tries to intervene: these planning interventions are what I study.

Most of my research is on exurbia, and the environmental and planning impacts of the landscape of large-lot country residential homes at the urban-rural fringe outside of cities. I am interested in growth management approaches to limit sprawl and conserve nature, such as Toronto’s Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt.

More and more, I am interested in climate change, as the most pressing issue facing cities. Reducing emissions and adapting landscapes to extreme weather have become the focus of my work.

I teach courses on environmental planning, urban and landscape ecology, and environmental design.

Research Projects

The COVID-19 pandemic and the flight to exurbia

Currently working on a book manuscript on Environmental Planning in Ontario

On-going work understanding how municipalities in Ontario are taking climate action through land-use planning.

Research Output

2019 Taylor, L. The future of greenbelts, Chapter 40 in M. Scott, N. Gallent, and M. Gkartzios, eds. The Routledge Companion to Rural Planning. New York: Springer.

2016 Taylor L. and Hurley, P. T. eds. A Comparative Political Ecology of Exurbia: Planning, Environmental Management, and Landscape. New York: Springer.

Chapter 1 Taylor, L. E. and Hurley, P. T. “Introduction: The Broad Contours of Exurban Landscape Change”

Chapter 2 Hurley, P. T.  and Taylor, L. E. “From Swamp to Ridgeline: Exploring Exurbia in Southeastern Pennsylvania and the Sierra Nevada Foothills of California”  

Chapter 12 Taylor, L. E., I. McKinnon, and McLean, J. “Redux: A Comparative Political Ecology of Exurbia Photo Album”

Chapter 13 Hurley, P. T.  and Taylor, L. E. “Conclusion: Moving Beyond Competing Rural Capitalisms and Uneven Environment Management in Exurbia”

2016 McVey, I., C. Sharma, T. Allan, J. Kyriazis, A. Douglas, P. Cobb, J. Mallette, L. Taylor, and S. Cooper. Research and Information Gathering on Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation, Final Report, 91 pp.

2016 Taylor L.. Growing the Greenbelt in area and approach. OPPI Journal 27(4): 13-14.

2013 Cadieux, K.V., Taylor, L. & Bunce, M. Landscape Ideology in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Greenbelt Plan: Negotiating material landscapes and abstract ideals in the city's countryside, Journal of Rural Studies 32(2), 307-319.


Course CodeTitle
ENVS 3226 Sustainable Urbanism
ENVS 5100Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental Studies
ENVS 6131Environmental Planning