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 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, 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 develops methods and tools of measured visualizations for public engagement in community planning and design. Cynthia and Ron are co-authors of elementsdb, a database of field-measured examples of urban land uses, intended as a decision-support tool for students, professionals, and researchers in the quest to design more sustainable urban regions.

Select publications

Girling, C., Lay, E., Senbel, M., & Kellett, R. (in press). Effects of visualizations and information rich public engagement on resident acceptance of smart growth for emissions reductions. Journal of Architectural and Planning Research.

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.