The Children’s Environments Research Group (CERG) links university scholarship with the development of policies, environments, and programs to fulfill children’s rights and improve the quality of their lives. There are two major strands to our work. The first is a broad concern with the fulfillment of children’s rights. The second is a more specific focus on the planning, design and management of children’s physical environments. Following the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, we address children of all ages from birth to eighteen and so we also work a great deal with what some countries call “youth”.
Our vision is a just and inclusive world where children and youth, in partnership with their families, neighbors and communities, have the opportunity to participate in the creation of environments that support their right to live, learn and play.
Our research focuses on understanding children’s lives and the conditions that influence them, with the goal of changing those conditions. To that end, we are equally concerned with the development of theory, policy, and practice. We have a particular commitment and expertise to understanding children’s own perspectives on their lives.
CERG has a focus on children living in poverty and in low-income communities, both in New York City and overseas. We are a key institution of Childwatch, and we conduct much of our international work in partnership with this international network of child rights research organizations.
Our Areas of Concern
The research of CERG reflects a deep commitment to the fulfillment of children’s rights. We seek to find ways to understand children’s lives and children’s own perspectives on their lives. Because of the particular backgrounds of our members, much of our research focuses on understanding children’s relationship to the physical environment and how we can use this knowledge to influence environmental policy, planning and design but this is gradually broadening as we partner with other groups. We have a number of primary, but overlapping, areas of concern:
- Children’s citizenship & participation in governance
- Children’s rights
- Children, nature & sustainability
- Community development & planning
- Design: Programming & evaluation
- Ecological study of children’s lives
- Methodological innovations
- Urban Poverty & Social/Environmental Justice
Where to Find Us
CERG is housed within the Center for Human Environments at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and collaborates closely with the other branches of this research center. Most of our research team members are drawn from the Ph.D. Programs in Environmental Psychology, Human Development, Critical Social/Personality Psychology and Geography.