Elizabeth Gearin

Professional Photo of Elizabeth Gearin
Faculty member, Sustainable Urban Planning Program
[email protected]

Areas of Expertise

  • Urban Planning
  • Public Policy
  • Community Engagement
  • Child-friendly Communities
  • Open Space Planning
  • Affordable Housing
  • Biophilia

Dr. Elizabeth Gearin (Ph.D., University of Southern California, AICP) is a planning and public policy consultant and a member of the Arlington County Planning Commission. She has worked as a housing and community development planner in the San Francisco Bay Area, and as a community organizer in Chicago. 

Prior to her current work, Dr. Gearin served as a NSF-funded graduate researcher at the University of Southern California. Her dissertation focused on assessing the child-friendliness of three iconic suburbs in the Washington D.C. metro area. 

Before graduate school she served in a range of professional planning capacities, including as Housing Coordinator for the City of Livermore, California; as a Community Development Planner for the Contra Costa County California Redevelopment Agency; and as a Community Organizer in Chicago, Illinois for the Southwest Parish and Neighborhood Federation.

In addition to teaching at GW, she has taught at University of Southern California and in the Wilder School at the Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Born in Norwalk, Connecticut, Dr. Gearin spent her middle school and high school years living in Taipei, Taiwan; Manila, The Philippines; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Bangkok, Thailand, which has given her a unique perspective on the sustainable urban planning field.


  • Ph.D., Public Policy and City and Regional Planning, University of Southern California (USC) 
  • M.C.R.P., Master of City and Regional Planning, California Polytechnic State University San Louis Obispo 
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Michigan

Additional Credentials

  • Member, American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)
  • Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Cities from the University of Southern California
  • Professional Certificate in Housing Development Finance from the National Development Council.
  • Certified as both a Master Naturalist and as a Master Gardener by the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service

Classes Taught

PSUS 6235, Biophilia and Urban Planning