Center for Human Environments
The Center for Human Environments (CHE), one of more than 30 research centers and institutes located at the City University of New York Graduate Center , brings together psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists, geographers, earth and environmental scientists, and public health experts whose research addresses the relationship between people and their physical settings. By providing a forum where the social sciences meet environmental research, CHE seeks to produce deeper understanding of and potential solutions to the problems faced by schools, neighborhoods and larger communities, nonprofit organizations, community-based groups and advocacy movements, and government agencies.
CHE operates as a consortium of specialized research sub-groups that share administrative resources and often pool their expertise and contacts in developing research proposals or sponsoring events. These sub-groups are: the Children's Environments Research Group, the Health & Society Research Group, the Housing Environments Research Group, the Public Science Project, the Public Space Research Group, and the Developmental Studies Research Group. The Center also houses ActKnowledge, a consulting organization that works with community groups, not-for-profits, foundations, and government agencies to evaluate their programs and to help them enhance their effectiveness.
Sponsors of recent Center for Human Environments research projects have included: the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation; the US Department of the Interior/National Park Service; the New York State Senate and the NYC Dept. of Education; the Ford, Rockefeller, Robert Wood Johnson, Spencer, Bowne, Overbrook, Russell Sage and Bernard van Leer (Netherlands) Foundations; The Helmsley Trust; UNICEF - Innocenti Research Centre; UNICEF (New York); the US Fund for UNICEF, Save the Children Norway, WorldVision International; and local partners such as the New York Community Trust, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and Make the Road New York. CHE also administers subcontracts from Mt. Sinai Medical Center. In the period 2009-2011, CHE projects provided salaries and/or scholarships for more than 30 students from the Graduate Center (or in some cases from elsewhere in the CUNY system). Eight faculty members from the Graduate Center or other CUNY divisions were engaged as Investigators on CHE projects during the same period.
Here is a sampling of the projects conducted by CHE researchers in recent years:
- The Article 15 Project: an international project supporting children's right to self-organize, as enunciated in Article 15 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child -- Children's Environments Research Group
- Seminars in US secondary education reform. A Ford Foundation-sponsored analysis of how philanthropies and other actors can best support both social justice and improved quality in US secondary education. -- Public Science Project
- An ethnographic overview of usage of the Gateway National Recreation Area/Staten Island, conducted for the National Park Service. -- ActKnowledge, in collaboration with the GC Sociology Dept.
- UNICEF's Education in Emergencies Project: a toolkit allowing children to evaluate temporary schools used in emergency situations (displacement by natural disaster, conflict, etc.) -- Children's Environments Research Group
- The privatization of public space and modes of resistance to loss of "the commons" --Public Space Research Group
- Measuring quality of life and testing interventions to improve quality of life in cancer survivors -- Health and Society Research Group
- The Morris Justice Project: a participatory investigation of the NY Police Department "Stop and Frisk" policy in one Bronx neighborhood. -- Public Science Project
- Student Success Centers and College Access: Research and Action. Development of peer-led college counseling services in NYC high schools, especially in under-served areas. -- Public Science Project
- Residential mobility and its impact on the well-being of young children in the US and the UK. -- Health and Society Research Group
- Alternative Housing Research: US housing alternatives in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. -- Housing Environments Research Group