Meg Holden

Urban Studies and Resources and Environmental Management

Meg Holden

Urban Studies and Resources and Environmental Management

Privileged to live and work on the traditional and unceded territories of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh speaking peoples.


  • PhD New School for Social Research, 2004
  • MSc Rutgers University, 1998
  • BSc (Hons.) University of Victoria, 1996

Meg Holden is an engaged researcher and teacher in the domains of urban and regional planning and policy, sustainable development and well-being, and pragmatic philosophy. An environmental pragmatist by personal conviction, Meg seeks paths toward new directions for cities where more and more of us can experience sustainability and justice.

Chercheuse et enseignante spécialiste dans les domaines de planification et politiques publiques urbaines et régionales, du développement durable et bien-être, et de la philosophie pragmatiste, Meg Holden suit un chemin de recherche marqué par un pragmatisme environnemental. Le but envisagé de ses travaux consiste des directions à suivre pour un avenir où une variété croissante des êtres urbains connaît la durabilité et la justice dans leur quotidien.


New Work

My Books

  • 2019. About, C., Doussard, C., Holden, M. (eds). Comment (re)penser la fabrique de la ville? 20 ans d’écoquartiers à l’international : bilans et perspectives. Paris : Dunod-Colin. 224 p.
  • 2017. Holden, M. Pragmatic justifications for the sustainable city: Acting in the common place. Routledge Series on Equity, Justice and the Sustainable City (J. Agyeman and S. Zavestoski, series eds).
  • 2017. Holden, M., Stevens, C., Phillips, R. (eds). Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best cases VII. New York: Springer.

Watch or Listen


Other sample publications: Urban development and policy planning

  • Holden, M. and Chang, R. 2020. Planning and development of sustainable cities in Canada. In Moos, M., Vinodrai, T. and Walker, R. (eds) Canadian Cities in Transition, 6th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, pp. 397-416.
  • 2016 Holden, M., Robinson, J. and Sheppard, S. From resilience to transformation: what is the development path? In Yamagata, Y. and Murayama, A. (eds) Urban Resilience -- a transformative approach. Springer, pp. 295-319.
  • 2015 Holden, M., A. Scerri and A. Hadizadeh Esfahani. Justifying failures within urban redevelopment success stories: dispute, compromise, and a new test of urbanity. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39(3): 451-470.
  • [31] 2015 Holden, M. and M. Toftager Larsen. Institutionalizing a policy by any other name: in the City of Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan, does climate change policy or sustainability policy smell as sweet? Urban Research and Practice 8(3): 354-370.
  • 2015 M. Holden and Maclaren, V. Urban Environmental Management. Chapter 17 in B. Mitchell (ed.) Resource and Environmental Management in Canada: Addressing conflict and uncertainty. 5th ed. Oxford University Press, pp. 426-449.
  • 2014 Holden, M. and A. Scerri. Justification, compromise and test: developing a pragmatic theory of critique to understand the outcomes of urban redevelopment. Planning Theory 14(4): 360-383.
  • [29] 2014 Holden, M., A. Hadizadeh Esfahani, and A. Scerri. Facilitated and emergent social learning in sustainable urban development: exposing a mismatch and moving toward convergence. Urban Research and Practice 7(1): 1-19.
  • 2014 Scerri, A. and M. Holden. Ecological modernization or sustainable development? Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan: the city as ‘manager’ of ecological restructuring. Environmental Policy and Practice 16(2): 261-279.
  • 2008 Holden, M. Social learning in planning: Seattle’s sustainable development codebooks. Progress in Planning 69(1): 1-40.
  • [14] 2008 Holden, M. The tough minded and the tender minded: A pragmatic turn for sustainable development policy. Planning Theory and Practice 9(4): 475-496.

Other sample publications: Ecourbanism, well-being and urban neighbourhoods

  • Holden, M. 2019 Bringing the neighbourhood into infill development in the interest of wellbeing. International Journal of Community Well-Being. 1(2): 137-155.
  • Airas, A., Larsen, M. and Holden, M. 2019 Social sustainability and ecourban neighbourhoods. In Shirazi, M.R. and Keivani, R. (eds) Urban Social Sustainability: Theory, practice and policy. New York: Routledge, p.149-170.
  • Holden, M. 2018 Community wellbeing in neighbourhoods: Achieving community and open-minded space through engagement in neighbourhoods. International Journal of Community Well-Being 1(1): 45-61.
  • Holden, M., Li, C., Molina, A., Sturgeon, D. 2016 New actors and intermediary roles in the craft of ecourban neighbourhoods. Articulo Journal of Urban Research 14. Available online:
  • Sturgeon, D., Holden, M., Molina, A., Li, C. 2016 What does neighbourhood theory mean for Ecourbanism? Introduction to the special issue on ‘Ecourbanism Worldwide.’ Articulo Journal of Urban Research 14 Available online:
  • Holden, M., C.Li. and A.Molina. 2015 The emergence and spread of eco-urban developments around the world. Sustainability 7(9): 11418-11437; doi:10.3390/su70911418. Available online
  • 2012 Holden, M. Urban policy engagement with social sustainability in metro Vancouver. Urban Studies 49(3): 636-651.

Other sample publications: Community indicators and urban sustainability assessment systems

  • Moreno Pires, S., Magee, L., Holden, M. 2017 Learning from community indicators movements: towards a citizen-powered urban data revolution. Environment and Planning C. 35(7): 1304-1323.
  • Holden, M. 2017 Getting to Groundbreaking, But Not Build Out: From formation to failure in a regional housing indicators collaborative. In Holden, M., Stevens, C., Phillips, R. (eds). Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best cases VII. New York: Springer.
  • Holden, M. 2006 Urban indicators and the integrative ideals of cities. Cities Journal 23(3): 170 -183.
  • Holden, M. 2006 Revisiting the local impact of community indicators projects: Sustainable Seattle as prophet in its own land. Applied Research in Quality-of-Life 1(3/4): 253-277.