Children's Environments Research Group

Children learning over a table

The Children's Environments Research Group (CERG), provides an important link between university scholarship and the development of design, policy and programs that both improve the quality of environments for children and enhance children's interaction with them. CERG assists in the design and redesign of children's environments and strives to encourage programs that foster more dynamic and empowering relationships between children and the environment. CERG is a part of the Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and collaborates closely with the other subgroups of this research consortium.

While CERG has often concentrated its applied research efforts in the low-income neighborhoods and schools of New York City, in recent years it has also increased its collaboration with international children's agencies, including UNICEF and the Save The Children Alliance, in interpreting the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in planning and management projects for cities in South Asia, Central Asia, and Latin America. CERG is also a partner in the Childwatch International Research Network, an international coalition of child rights research organizations.

Visit the Children's Environments Research Group website

Major projects currently underway at CERG include:

  • The Article 15 Project. An international project supporting children's right to self-organize and fulfill their rights, as enunciated in Article 15 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The project has worked with children's groups in Latin America, South Asia, and West Africa, and offers toolkits and support on its website.
  • The Child Friendly Communities Project. An international project designed to implement children's participatory community assessment and planning initiatives. With support from the Bernard van Leer Foundation (The Netherlands), this project is focusing on activities in India and Brazil; a description of the Indian work can be accessed here: Child Friendly Communities - Mumbai

In 2017-2018, doctoral students Eleanor Luken and Aysenur Ataman were named Research Fellows, and doctoral student Naomi Podber was named Research Associate, all funded by a generous award from the Bernard van Leer Foundation (The Netherlands). The two research fellowships and the research associate position are supported by the Selim Iltus Memorial Fund, named for CHE's longtime CERG Co-Director, who also worked for seven years as a van Leer Foundation Program Officer before his passing in 2015. The Fund, housed at RFCUNY, will also fund travel to conferences for doctoral students engaged in research on children's environments and related topics.


Roger Hart

Professor, Psychology; Professor, Social Welfare; Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences; Director, Center for Human Environments