Cynthia Girling
Professor, Landscape Architecture
Cynthia Girling
Contact Information
MacMillan 389
604 822 0438
  • BES
  • BLA
  • MLA
Area of Expertise
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Visualization and Community Engagement
Types of Courses
  • Professional Practice
  • Research Methods

Cynthia Girling teaches in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design. She has practiced landscape architecture in British Columbia and taught landscape architecture at the University of Oregon from 1987 to 2004, when she joined the University of British Columbia. Cynthia is a registered Landscape Architect in Oregon and 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 and particularly, the role of the public realm. With Professor 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 sustainability-oriented urban design tools, plans, codes, standards, guidelines, and prototypes aimed at informing local planning and urban design processes. Girling and Kellett are co-authors of elementsdb, a database of field-measured examples of urban land uses. elementsdb is intended as a decision-support tool for students, professionals, and researchers in the quest to design more sustainable urban regions.

Selected recent articles

Senbel M, Girling C, White J, Kellett R, and Chan P, “Precedents reconceived: Urban design learning catalysed through data rich 3-D digital models.” Design Studies. September 2012.

Girling C, “Smart Growth Meets Low Impact Development: A Case Study of UniverCity, Vancouver, Canada,” Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability, 3(01), pp. 69 – 93. April 2010.

Girling C, “UniverCity: Building a New Green Neighborhood,” Places Special Issue: Climate Change and Place, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 26 – 29. Summer 2008.

Girling C, Kellett R, and Johnstone S, “Informing Design for Participation in Neighbourhood-Scale Planning,” Integrated Assessment, Vol. 6, No. 4. December, 2006.

Books and reports

Girling C, Galdon M, Davis L, and Kellett R, Green Infrastructure in Calgary’s Mobility Corridors, with UBC Design Centre for Sustainability, prepared for Plan It Calgary. December 2008, awarded the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, National Merit Award for Research.

Girling C and Kellett R, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Island Press, Washington, DC, 2005. (175 pages, illustrated).

Girling C and Helphand K, Yard, Street, Park: The Design of Suburban Open Space, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1994. (245 pages, illustrated).