Cynthia Girling



Cynthia Girling

Contact details


3143 – Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability





MLA, University of Oregon
BLA, University of Oregon
BES, University of Manitoba


Cynthia teaches in the architecture, landscape architecture and environmental design programs. She has practiced landscape architecture in British Columbia and taught landscape architecture at the University of Oregon and the University of British Columbia. She is a registered Landscape Architect in British Columbia and a Fellow of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, and the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Her work focuses on sustainable urban design, green systems, the public realm, and tools for urban design. With Ronald Kellett, she co-directs the elementslab, a research group in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture and housed in the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability. The lab creates new knowledge, processes and tools for effective, creative integration of urban form and environment. We emphasize methods of measured visualization for urban design to elevate urban sustainability. The work contributes to the development of urban design policy, tools, indicators, guidelines and community prototypes.

Select publications

Nesbitt, L., Meitner, M., Sheppard, S., Girling, C. “Urban green equity on the ground: Practice-based models of urban green equity in three multicultural cities”, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Volume 44 ,No. 8, August 2019.

Girling, Cynthia, Kejia Zheng, Alessandra Monti, Marjan Ebneshahidi, “Walkability vs. walking: Assessing outcomes of walkability at Southeast False Creek, Vancouver, Canada”, Journal of Urbanism, Vol. 12, No. 4, October 2019.

Nesbitt, Lorien, Michael J. Meitner, Cynthia Girling, Stephen Sheppard, Yuhao Lu, “Who has access to urban vegetation? A spatial analysis of distributional green equity in 10 US cities”, Landscape and Urban Planning, Volume 181, pp. 51-79. 2019.

Nesbitt, Lorien, Michael Meitner, Stephen Sheppard, Cynthia Girling, “The dimensions of urban green equity: A framework for analysis”, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Volume 34, pp. 240-248. 2018.

Girling, C., Senbel, M., & Kellett, R. (2016). Effects of visualizations and information rich public engagement on resident acceptance of smart growth for emissions reductions. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, 33(2), 140–159.

Girling, C., Gocova, A., Goldgrub, V., & Sylvia, N. (2015). Wesbrook Place: A case study in sustainable neighbourhood design. UBC Open Collections.

Girling, C., Kellett, R., Senbel, M., Stuart, J., & van der Laan, M. (2013). Can form based codes help reduce municipal GHG emissions in small towns? The case of Revelstoke, British Columbia. Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 22(1), 71–91.

Chan, P., Girling, C., Kellett, R., Senbel, M., & White, J. (2013). Precedents reconceived: Urban design learning catalysed through data rich 3-D digital models. Design Studies, 34(1), 74–92. Shortlisted for 2013 Design Studies Award.

Girling C., Kellett R., Senbel M., & White J. (2013). Evaluating a web based urban design reference tool. Urban Nature. Conference proceedings of the Council of Educators in Landscape Architecture, 2011, edited by Rachel Berney, 197-216. Los Angeles: Figueroa Press.

Girling, C. (2010). Smart growth meets low impact development: A case study of UniverCity, Vancouver, Canada, Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 3(1), 69–93.

Girling, C. (2008). UniverCity: Building a new green neighborhood, Places Special Issue: Climate Change and Place, 20(2), 26–29.

Davis, L., Galdón, M., Girling, C., & Kellett, R. Green infrastructure in Calgary’s mobility corridors. Prepared for Plan It Calgary, 2008, received the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects National Merit Award for Research.

Girling, C., Johnstone, S., & Kellett, R., (2006). Informing design for participation in neighbourhood-scale planning, Integrated Assessment, 6(4), 109–130.

Girling, C. & Kellett, R. (2005). Skinny streets and green neighborhoods: Design for environment and community. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Helphand, K., & Girling, C. (1994). Yard, street, park: The design of suburban open space. New York: John Wiley and Sons.