elementslab at the University of British Columbia

elementslab is an applied urban design and environment research group at the Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability.

the lab

elementslab is an applied urban design and environment research group in the School of Architecture + Landscape Architecture and the Centre for Interactive Research in Sustainability at the University of British Columbia.  Co-founders and co-directors Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett work closely with students, collaborators, clients and sponsors to create 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 results of our work have contributed to the development of urban design tools, indicators, guidelines and community prototypes in the United States and Canada.

Our expertise spans the disciplines of urban design, landscape architecture and architecture. We work across scales (from regions to buildings) on community-based projects typically in collaboration with academic and professional partners. Academic collaborators have included faculty and students in atmospheric science, architecture, community and regional planning, computer science, civil engineering, environmental design, forestry, geography, landscape architecture, library science and remote sensing.

The results of our work have contributed to the development of urban design tools, indicators, guidelines and community prototypes in the United States and Canada. Expansion and refinement of our principal tool, elementsdb, a web-based database of case-based urban form examples, and its application in applied urban design research and teaching contexts is an ongoing project.

Research staff have included:
Lindy Baiani, Korbin Dasilva,  Brendan Buchanan Dee, John Owen de Lancie, Muhammad Dewji, Grant Hainsworth, Fausto Inomata, Juchan Kim, Alix Krahn, Erica Lay, Doreen Leo, Jeannie Lim, Jess MacDaniel, Alexander Man-Bourdon, Stephanie Mauer, Courtney Miller, Nicole Miller, Ignacio Mingo, Anna Murynka, Nikki Ng, Victor Ngo, Inna Olchovski, Maysa Phares, Maxim Pravosoudov, Phil Riley, Jon Salter, Warren Scheske, Caroline Schutrumpf, Negin Shakibi, Mesa Sheriff, Nicholas Sinkewicz, Eric Siu, Elsa Snyder, Jessica Stuart, Nicole Sylvia, Michael van der Laan, Emily Warkentin, Karen Wong, Andrew Yu, Kevin Zhang, Peter Zhang.

Awards

Excellence in Policy Planning Award (Cities and Urban Areas) from the Planning Institute of British Columbia. Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett cited for research contribution to the Cambie Corridor Plan in collaboration with City of Vancouver planning team (Jim Bailey lead). 2012.

American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award in Research Category for Getting to Minus 80: Defining the Contribution of Urban form to Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets based on a compilation of several research projects (including Emerald Hills Urban Village and PlanIT Calgary cited in research activities and publications sections of vita) undertaken with multiple collaborators and the Design Centre for Sustainability. 2010.

Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, National Merit Award for Research for ‘Green Infrastructure in Calgary’s Mobility Corridors’ Cynthia Girling, Ronald Kellett, Maria Galdon and Lara Davis. 2009.

Industry award to a consulting project, U.S. Green Development of the Year from the National Home Builders Association, Washington, DC for Pringle Creek Community with Opsis Architecture (prime consultant), Ramsay Worden Architects and Patrick Condon, 2007.

2006 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Regional Citation for Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling, Ronald Kellet, (Island Press), 2005.

Press

Zdaniuk, Natalia, 2013, “Playing in the Sandbox,” Spacing, July 22, 2013. http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2013/07/22/elementslab/

CBC The Nature of Things, Suzuki Diaries: Future City, Thursday February 16, 2012, featured the Multi-touch Table work of Ronald Kellett, Cynthia Girling, Kellogg Booth, Tao Su and graduate students..

Fisher, Susan, 2007, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 73, No. 1 Winter 2007.

Canzonieri, Carmela Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Urban Habitats (electronic journal) http://www.urbanhabitats.org/, Vol. 4, No. 1. December, 2006.

Piselli, Kathy, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Electronic Green Journal http://egj.uidaho.edu, Issue 23, Spring, 2006.

No author, Skinny Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Planning, Vol. 72, No. 8, August/September 2006.

Awards

Excellence in Policy Planning Award (Cities and Urban Areas) from the Planning Institute of British Columbia. Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett cited for research contribution to the Cambie Corridor Plan in collaboration with City of Vancouver planning team (Jim Bailey lead). 2012.

American Society of Landscape Architects Honor Award in Research Category for Getting to Minus 80: Defining the Contribution of Urban form to Achieving Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Targets based on a compilation of several research projects (including Emerald Hills Urban Village and PlanIT Calgary cited in research activities and publications sections of vita) undertaken with multiple collaborators and the Design Centre for Sustainability. 2010.

Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, National Merit Award for Research for ‘Green Infrastructure in Calgary’s Mobility Corridors’ Cynthia Girling, Ronald Kellett, Maria Galdon and Lara Davis. 2009.

Industry award to a consulting project, U.S. Green Development of the Year from the National Home Builders Association, Washington, DC for Pringle Creek Community with Opsis Architecture (prime consultant), Ramsay Worden Architects and Patrick Condon, 2007.

2006 Canadian Society of Landscape Architects, Regional Citation for Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling, Ronald Kellet, (Island Press), 2005.

Press

Zdaniuk, Natalia, 2013, “Playing in the Sandbox,” Spacing, July 22, 2013. http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2013/07/22/elementslab/

CBC The Nature of Things, Suzuki Diaries: Future City, Thursday February 16, 2012, featured the Multi-touch Table work of Ronald Kellett, Cynthia Girling, Kellogg Booth, Tao Su and graduate students..

Fisher, Susan, 2007, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 73, No. 1 Winter 2007.

Canzonieri, Carmela Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Urban Habitats (electronic journal) http://www.urbanhabitats.org/, Vol. 4, No. 1. December, 2006.

Piselli, Kathy, Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Electronic Green Journal http://egj.uidaho.edu, Issue 23, Spring, 2006.

No author, Skinny Skinny Streets and Green Neighborhoods: Design for Environment and Community, Cynthia Girling and Ronald Kellett, Planning, Vol. 72, No. 8, August/September 2006.