Louise Chawla
Professor Emeritus

Office: ENVD 1B50



Louise Chawla is a Professor in the Environmental Design Program in the University of Colorado Boulder. She is Associate Director of the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Community Engagement (CYE Center) and Co-editor of the journal Children, Youth and Environments. As a member of the Executive Committee of Growing Up Boulder, she helps lead a partnership between the CYE Center, Boulder Valley School District, and the City of Boulder’s Departments of Community Planning and Sustainability, Parks and Recreation, and Transportation, along with numerous community organizations, 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 two 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.    



  • Ph.D., Environmental Psychology, City University of New York Graduate Center
  • M.A., Education & Child Development, Bryn Mawr College
  • B.A., Hunter College, New York


Research Interests

  • The development of active care for the natural world
  • Benefits of contact with nature for children, youth and adults
  • Design approaches for integrating nature into everyday environments
  • Child friendly cities and communities
  • Effective processes for engaging children and youth in urban planning and design


Courses Taught


  • Human Behavior in Design and Planning
  • Applying Social Research to Promote Sustainable Behaviors


Selected Publications


  • Growing Up in an Urbanising World.  Editor and co-author, Paris/London: UNESCO/Earthscan Publications, 2002

  • In the First Country of Places: Nature, Poetry, and Childhood Memory Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994

  • “Children’s engagement with the natural world as a ground for healing.” In M. Krasny & K. Tidball (Eds.), Greening in the Red Zone: Disaster, Resilience & Community Greening (pp. 111-124). Dordrecht: Springer, 2014.

  • Co-author with Victoria Derr, Mara Mintzer & Willem van Vliet, “A city for all citizens: Boulder’s approach to integrating children and youth from marginalized populations into city planning,” Buildings, 2013, 3(1), 482-505, special issue on “Designing Spaces for City Living.”

  • Co-author with Victoria Derr. “The development of conservation behaviors in childhood and youth.” In S. Clayton (Ed.), Oxford Handbook of Environmental and Conservation Psychology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

  •  “Growing up green: Becoming an agent of care for the natural world.” Journal of Developmental Processes, 2009, 4(1), 6-23.

  • “Children and nature.” In R. Shweder (Editor-in-Chief), The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion (pp. 672-674). University of Chicago Press, 2009.

  • “Participation and the ecology of environmental awareness and action.” In A. Reid, B. B. Jensen, J. Nikel & V. Simovska (Eds.), Participation and Learning (pp. 98-110). Guildford, UK:Springer, 2008.

  • Co-author with David Driskell. “Having a say about where to play: A serious way to learn democracy.” In E. Goodenough (Ed.), A Place for Play (pp. 65-81). Ann Arbor: National Institute for Play, 2008.

  • “Childhood experiences associated with care for the natural world.” Children, Youth & Environments, 2007, 17(4), 144-170.3/14