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Laura E Taylor

Laura E Taylor

Associate Professor

Coordinator, MES Planning Program


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 and Regional Planning; Climate Change; Political Ecology of Exurbia; Exurban and Peri-Urban Planning; Nature and Environmental Politics; Integrating Energy and Land Use Planning; Rural Planning; Growth Management: Greenbelt Planning; Planning and Settlement Histories in & around Toronto.

Graduate Supervision

I supervise students in the graduate programs in Environmental Studies and Geography.

Contact Information

4700 Keele Street
Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

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

2016 Taylor L. and Hurley, P. T. eds. A Comparative Political Ecology of Exurbia: Planning, Environmental Management, and Landscape. New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-29462-9_1

2013 Cadieux, K. V. and Taylor, L. eds. Landscape and the Ideology of Nature in Exurbia: Green Sprawl. New York: Routledge.

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. doi:10.4324/9781315102375

2020 L. Taylor and J.  L. Taylor & J. Hall, Hemson Consulting Ltd. Climate Change: Opportunities for Energy and Emissions Reductions, Peel Region Settlement Area Boundary Expansion Technical Study. 92 pp. link:

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.  link:

Awards and Recognition

  • Member of Urban Land Institute, Women’s Leadership Initiative Championship Team
  • Member of Lambda Alpha International (The Honorary Society for the Advancement of Land Economics) 


Course CodeTitle
ES/ENVS 3226Sustainable Urbanism
ENVS 5100Interdisciplinary Research in Environmental Studies
ES/ENVS 6131Environmental Planning
ES/ENVS 6132Urban Environmental Design