Associate Professor

Program Director Economic Development and Innovation

Tara Vinodrai

519-888-4567 x33278

EV3 4231


Tara joined the university in 2008 and holds a joint appointment with the Geography and Environmental Management (GEM) department. At the core of her research program is a concern with understanding and theorizing the dynamics of contemporary economic change and the emerging and evolving geographies of the knowledge-based economy. Her research is highly interdisciplinary  in scope drawing on the social sciences, and innovation, organizational and management studies.

Research interests

Tara's research is firmly grounded in economic geography, but draws upon a broader, interdisciplinary literature in the social sciences, particularly urban and regional economic development and planning, international political economy, evolutionary economics, and innovation, organizational and management studies. Tara strongly believes that pressing theoretical questions and societal issues must be addressed through rigourous empirical research, using the most appropriate methods. For this reason, Tara uses a diverse range of quantitative and qualitative methods in her research. Her empirical research has primarily focused on Canada; however, it is evolving to examine advanced capitalist economies in Europe and the United States, casting her research in an international comparative context.


Ph.D.  Geography & Program in Planning, University of Toronto
M.A. Geography, Queens University
B.A. Geography, Queens University

Current courses taught

  • ECDEV 601/GEOG 685: Economic Development: Theories and Frameworks
  • ECDEV 602: Economic Development: Policy and Practice
  • ECDEV 606/GEOG 613/PLAN 613: Innovation and Economic Development in Cities and Regions
  • GEOG 311: Local development in global context

Current research

  • Urban/economic geography, creative cities, cultural industries, clusters and innovation, economic development policy and practice, labour and employment change

Select publications

  • Vinodrai, T. 2014. Attracting and retaining talent in Canadian cities: Towards a holistic view? In Seeking Talent for Creative Cities: The Social Dynamics of Economic Innovation, ed. J.L. Grant. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Vinodrai, T. 2013. Design in a downturn? Creative work, labour market dynamics and institutions in comparative perspective. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, doi: 10.1093/cjres/RSS011
  • Vinodrai, T., Nathu, R., Robson, E., Ross, S., Parker, P. and Scott, S. 2012. Taking regional action? Understanding networks in the local food, green energy and creative sectors in Waterloo region. Research monograph prepared for the Economic Developers Council of Ontario.
  • Vinodrai, T. 2011. Understanding Canada’s evolving design economy: Employment, institutions and public policy. In The Handbook of Creative Cities, ed. D. Andersson, A.E. Andersson, and C. Mellander. Edward Elgar, pp. 146-168.
  • Spencer, G., Vinodrai, T., Gertler, M.S., and Wolfe, D. 2010. Do clusters make a difference? Defining and assessing their economic performance. Regional Studies 44(6): 697-715.
University of Waterloo

Profiles by type