Tara Vinodrai

Associate Professor


Fields of Study

Areas of Interest

Economic geography, urban and regional economic development, innovation, work and labour market dynamics, creative/cultural economy of cities, economic change in North American cities, manufacturing and the maker economy.


I am trained as an economic geographer and my research program focuses on innovation, economic development, work and labour market dynamics, and technological change in cities. Additionally, I have long-standing interests in the creative/cultural industries, clusters and the geography of innovation. Increasingly, my work interrogates the uneven outcomes, patterns and equity implications associated with changes in urban and regional economies. My current projects explore the relationships between housing affordability and economic development; manufacturing and the maker economy; and the social and spatial implications of the shift to remote work. I am also part of a national research team looking at ridehailing and the wider challenges of the gig/platform economy. I approach my research using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. My most recent publications include a widely used, co-edited book, Canadian Cities in Transition (Oxford University Press), which recently received an Award of Planning Excellence Merit from the Canadian Institute of Planners. I have always encouraged and participated in dialogue and engagement with policymakers and practitioners and I am interested in how theory and practice intersect, interact and inform each other. I have provided advice to large cities and smaller communities and all levels of government related to innovation, economic development and regional prosperity. In addition to research, I am the Director of the Master of Urban Innovation program at the Institute for Management and Innovation (UTM), where I also do most of my teaching, including a course on urban and regional economic development theories. I welcome prospective Masters and PhD students in geography and planning whose theoretical and empirical interests align with mine to contact me directly to discuss opportunities.


Vinodrai, T., Nader, B, Zavarella, C. 2021. Manufacturing space for inclusive innovation: A study of maker spaces in southern Ontario. Local Economy 36(5): 205-223. Open access: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/02690942211013532

Brail, S. and Vinodrai, T. 2020. The elusive, inclusive city: Toronto at a crossroads. In Critical Dialogues of Urban Governance, Development and Activism: London and Toronto, ed. S. Bunce, N. Livingstone, L. March, S. Moore, and A. Walks. London: UCL Press, pp. 38-53.

Lowe, N. and Vinodrai, T. 2020. The maker-manufacturing nexus as a place-connecting strategy: Implications for regions ‘left-behind’. Economic Geography, 96(4): 315-335. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00130095.2020.1812381

Spigel, B. and Vinodrai, T. 2020. Meeting its Waterloo? Recycling in entrepreneurial ecosystems after anchor firm collapse. Entrepreneurship and Regional Development. https://doi.org/10.1080/08985626.2020.1734262

Vinodrai, T. 2018. Planning for cool: Millennials and the innovation economy of cities. In The Millennial City: Trends, Implications and Prospects for Urban Planning and Policy, ed. M. Moos, D. Pfeiffer and T. Vinodrai. London: Routledge.


PhD, University of Toronto

Administrative Service

Director, Master of Urban Innovation (2018-present)
Editorial Board, Canadian Journal of Regional Science (2020-present)
Co-editor (North America), Local Economy (2017-present)