Louise Chawla
Professor Emerita • CEDaR Fellow

Louise Chawla is professor emerita in the Program in Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder. Previously the associate director of the Children, Youth and Environments Center, she is now a Community Engagement, Design and Research (CEDaR) fellow. As a member of the executive committee of Growing Up Boulder, she helps lead a partnership between CEDaR, the Boulder Valley School District and the City of Boulder to integrate the ideas of children and youth into urban planning and design. As international coordinator of the Growing Up in Cities program of UNESCO from 1996-2006, she revived an initiative that has involved young people in cities around the world in evaluating and improving their urban communities. She has written three books and many book chapters and journal articles on children and nature, children in cities, and the development of active care for the natural world and previously she was the co-editor of the journal Children, Youth and Environments. Most recently, she is a coauthor of the book, "Placemaking with Children and Youth: Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities," which was released Sept. 17, 2018 by New Village Press.



  • Chawla, L. (2020). Childhood nature connection and constructive hope: A review of research on connecting with nature and coping with environmental loss. People and Nature, published online 5 August, 2020, https//doi.org/10.1002/pan3.10128.
  • Sobko, T., and Chawla, L. (in press). “Intergenerational gardening on urban rooftops: The example of the ‘Play and Grow’ Program in Hong Kong.” Second author, co-authored with Tanja Sobko. In M. Kaplan, J. Hoffman, M. Sánchez & L. L. Thang (eds.), Intergenerational Contact Zones: Place-based Tools for Promoting Social Inclusion and Belonging. Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
  • Chawla, L. (in press). “Knowing nature in childhood: Learning and wellbeing through engagement with the natural world.” In A. Schutte, J. Stevens & J. Torquati (eds.), Nature and Psychology: How the Natural World Shapes Our Cognition. Springer Science + Business Media.
  • Mintzer, M., and Chawla, L. (in press). Turning young people’s ideas into action: Learning from long-term partnerships for child and youth participation. In J. Loebach, S. Little, A. Cox & P. Eubanks Owens (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge.
  • Chawla, L., and van Vliet, W. (in press). Welcoming young people in urban placemaking: Learning from challenges. In J. Loebach, S. Little, A. Cox & P. Eubanks Owens (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Designing Public Spaces for Young People. Abingdon-on-Thames, UK: Routledge. 
  • Chawla, L. (2020) Helping students cope with environmental change and take constructive civic action. Green Schools Catalyst Quarterly, 7(1).
  • Jordan, C., and Chawla, L. (2019). A coordinated research agenda for nature-based learning. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, Article 766. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00766
  • Hill, C, and Chawla, L. (2019). “Fun, novel, safe and inclusive”: Children’s design recommendations for playgrounds for all abilities. Children, Youth and Environments, 29(1), 105-115.Chawla, L. (2018) Nature-based learning for student achievement and ecological citizenship, Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue, 20 (1 & 2), xxv-xxxix.
  • Chawla, L., and Hughes, R. E. (2018). Returning orange waters to blue: Creating a culture of civic engagement through learning experiences. In M. E. Krasny (Ed.), Grassroots to Global: Broader Impacts of Civic Ecology (pp. 85-102). Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 
  • Chawla, L., and White, A. B. (2018). Place-based education and citizen science: Resources for learning beyond the classroom. The NAMTA Journal, 43(3): 4-22. (Journal of the North American Montessori Teachers Association).
  • Kreutz, A., Derr, V., and Chawla, L. (2018). Fluid or fixed? Design processes that facilitate or constrain a sense of inclusion in participatory schoolyard and park design. Landscape Journal, 37(1): 39-54. 
  • Derr, V.,  L. Chawla and Mintzer, M. Placemaking with Children and Youth Participatory Practices for Planning Sustainable Communities.  New York: New Village Press, 2018. Print. Winner of the Environmental Design Research Association 2019 Achievement Award.
  • Derr, V., L. Chawla, and W. van Vliet. 2017, in press. "Children as Natural Change Agents: Child Friendly Cities as Resilient Cities."  K. Bishop and L. Corkery (Eds.), Designing for Kids in the City: Beyond Playgrounds and Skateparks.  Routledge Press.
  • Derr, V., L. Chawla, and I. Pevec. Early 2017, in press. "Early Childhood," in A. Russ and M. Krasny (Eds.),Urban Environmental Education Review textbook. Cornell University Press.  And associated video link.
  • Chawla, L. & Driskell, D. (2009). Learning by doing: Education for sustainable development through place-based action research. In P.B. Corcoran & P.M. Osano (Eds.), Young People, Education, and Sustainable Development (pp. 91-98). Wageningen Academic Publishers.
  • Chawla, L. & Flanders Cushing, D. (2007). Education for strategic environmental behavior.Environmental Education Research, 13(4), 437-452.
  • Kingston, B., Wridt, P., Chawla L., van Vliet, W., & Brink, L. (2007). Creating child friendly cities in the case of Denver, USA. Municipal Engineer, 160(2), 97-102.
  • Chawla, L. & Heft, H. (2006). Children as agents in sustainable development. In M. Blades & C. Spencer (Eds.), Children as Agents in Sustainable Development: The Ecology of Competence (pp. 199-216). New York: Cambridge University Press.

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