EP Student Eve Klein on “Decolonizing Design Research”

A reflection on the AIA New York | Center for Architecture workshop series, “Decolonizing Design Research”, Environmental Psychology student Eve Klein, Fauzia Khanani, & Shawhin Roudbari  will be presenting at Environmental Design Research Association on Friday, May 21, at 3:15 PM EST. Join them as they discuss “Decolonizing Design Research: Scholarship, Application, Activism and Assessment”.


Eve Klein is an architect and planner specializing in cultural institutions and higher education.  She is currently pursuing her doctorate in Environmental Psychology at CUNY with a focus on how spaces promote inclusion of diverse populations.  Eve received her B.A. from Vassar College, majoring in American Culture, with a focus on Art History and Geography.  She earned her Arch. from UCLA.
In her career as an architect, she trained at Polshek Partnership Architects [now Ennead], where cultural institutions and schools were her primary clients, they included: NYU, NYC School Construction Authority, The Public Theater, Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas.  She also ran her own architectural design practice, served as an advisor for the National Design Awards at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and worked at the American Federation for the Arts.
Following her work in architectural practice, she was NYU’s Assistant Vice President of Strategic Assessment Planning and Design, overseeing facilities planning and space management at the University. In this position, she had the opportunity to develop the program for the newly opened Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life with members of NYU’s clergy. The collaboration of multi-faith clergy on this complex project inspired her current academic and consulting work.
She currently serves on the Advisory Board of NYU’s Of Many Institute, the Board of Directors of the Center for Architecture, and the Board of Directors of Congregation B’nai Jeshurun.

EP Student Javier Otero Peña on Just and Livable Cities

Congrats to Javier for being recognized by the CUNY Graduate Center! Please see the following Student Spotlight:

“In his first published paper, Environmental Psychology Ph.D. student Javier Otero Peña  takes a step toward his goal of understanding why people do or do not use public spaces, and what those spaces mean to them.

“What drove me to this field, and to a Ph.D. in environmental psychology, is a desire to make cities more just and livable,” Otero Peña said.

Otero Peña was first author on the new paper, which examines park use in low-income neighborhoods around New York City. The study appears in Frontiers in Public Health.

Otero Peña and his co-authors found that while the physical environment of the park and surrounding neighborhood do have some relevance to how often people use the park, the social environment is more important. Since current urban planning efforts don’t often focus on social interactions, Otero Peña hopes the findings can inform new ideas and methods.

The researchers recorded observations at 54 parks in low-income neighborhoods with predominantly Hispanic and Black residents. They also used survey responses from 904 residents, collected through the PARCS study, a collaboration between the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy (CUNY SPH) and the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The results showed that when people felt more trust and social cohesion with their neighbors, they were more likely to use nearby parks. Parks with more things to do — more athletic and children’s facilities, and more event programming — also saw more use.

The new study is also the first to quantitatively look at the relationship between stop-and-frisk incidence and park usage. Areas with higher numbers of stops had lower park use.

“Several qualitative studies, some by The Graduate Center’s Public Science Project, had already found that these policing practices resulted in low-income residents, especially Black and Latinx folks, changing their public space use patterns for fear of police harassment,” Otero Peña said. “Our study supports their findings and we hope to encourage city authorities to review their current practices and design holistic approaches to guarantee not only physical, but also social access to parks in low-income, minority-majority neighborhoods.”

With his first paper just published, Otero Peña already has several more in the works. One paper will take a look at the Guerilla Gallery, a participatory mural in East Harlem, and another will explore how low-income residents perceive park renovations in their gentrifying neighborhoods.

For Otero Peña, who is from Venezuela, these academic endeavors are just a continuation of work he was already doing out of a passion for the subject.

“Back in Caracas, my hometown, I organized cultural events in neglected and underused public spaces to promote their use and to foster a sense of belonging and attachment,” he said, “but back then, I had no knowledge or means to measure the impact of my interventions.”

Today, Otero Peña has the tools and resources to make these measurements. He works with his adviser, Professor Setha Low, in The Graduate Center’s Public Space Research Group, and with Professor Terry Huang in the Center for Systems and Community Design at CUNY SPH. Both professors were also co-authors on the new paper.

According to Otero Peña, this kind of collaboration is an important part of putting together a successful study.

“Do not hesitate to reach out to others who can contribute to the paper and make it more solid,” he advised. “I would not have been able to publish this paper on my own.” Graduate students should not fear rejection by journals, either, or take it personally Otero Peña said, as there are many reasons a publication might not want a certain study.

“Push through!” Otero Peña said. “Your first paper does not have to be perfect. This is not the apex of your career: just the beginning.” ”

Javier Otero Peña is a PhD candidate in Environmental Psychology from Caracas, Venezuela. Javier is the Student Advisor for the M.S. in Data Analysis and Visualization at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is also a research associate at the Public Space Research Group, and a research assistant for the PARCS study in the CUNY School for Public Health. His dissertation looks at park use, park renovations and place attachment in New York City.

Year End Event

All are invited to our Environmental Psychology Year End Event

May 14th at 10 AM EDT

Presentations include:

Melissa Checker on The Sustainability Myth

Fernanda Blanco Vidal and Erin Lilli on Teaching EP Critically

Chris Hoffman on TESANDA

Irina Shirobokova and Shokraan Rahiminezhad on Being There without Being There

An Open Call for Updates and Shares from the EP Community

And a Toast to David Chapin and Susan Saegert

Click Here for more information!

Congrats to EP Faculty Susan Opotow for her APA Presidential Citation



Environmental Psychology Faculty Member Susan Opotow, PhD, was awarded a Presidential Citation for her commitment to the identification and elimination of all forms of social injustice.

Susan Opotow’s research focuses on injustice and investigates the socio-political/ psychological contexts in which the scope of justice — the extent of our justice concerns for others — widens or narrows. Dr. Opotow’s theoretical work on injustice is based on my empirical studies utilizing quantitative, qualitative, and historical methods to examine how, when, and why injustice directed at marginalized groups is rendered ‘normal.’ Dr. Opotow also studies the complementary, inclusionary process, when justice concerns, rights, and resources are extended more broadly within a society to widen the scope of justice. Dr. Opotow has situated this scholarship within several productive contexts that include environmental conflict, public schooling, post-war (i.e., USA Civil War, World War II) change, and museum exhibitions on historical injustice.

Opotow’s service to APA includes membership on the Committee on International Relations in Psychology, membership on and chair of the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest, and membership on the Board for Educational Affairs. She served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and is a long-standing member of the Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence. She was an editor of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology. Furthermore, she served on the editorial boards of Social Justice ResearchJournal of Social and Political PsychologyQuantitative Psychology, and Human Ecology Review.

As the award makes clear, Opotow has made “Outstanding contributions as a scholar, teacher, and mentor. Her research has inspired conflict resolution scholars and practitioners around the world.”

Click here to read more! 


EP and CSP Students Share Transnational Research

“Transnational Inquiries and Solidarities” was a panel of five graduate students who discussed their work on at the Graduate Center CUNY’s Psychology Research Day. The panel shared their original work on the  critical edges and affects of working around refugee crisis in Germany, critical/liberatory psychology across national borders in interviews with US and Salvadoran therapists, the delicacies of decolonizing/documenting the praxis of women activists in Africa, the vision of creating the transnational network, and “radical dreams” for transnational psychological inquiry.

EP student Chris Hoffman shared his work with EP faculty member Michelle Fine and other scholars on establishing a network of transnational scholars. Click here to learn more about TESANDA.

Congrats to Ruth Wilson Gilmore for Joining American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Graduate Center of The City University of New York celebrates the election of Professor Ruth Wilson Gilmore to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the oldest and most prestigious honorary societies in the United States.  Ruth Wilson Gilmore is an affiliated professor with Environmental Psychology.

Ruth Wilson Gilmore is Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences, and American Studies, and the Director of the Center for Place, Culture, and Politics. she also serves on the Executive Committee of the Institute for Research on the African Diaspora in the Americas and the Caribbean. Co-founder of many grassroots organizations including the  California Prison Moratorium Project, Critical Resistance, and the Central California Environmental Justice Network, Gilmore is author of the prize-winning Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California (UC Press). Recent publications include “Beyond Bratton” (Policing the Planet, Camp and Heatherton, eds., Verso); “Abolition Geography and the Problem of Innocence” (Futures of Black Radicalism, Lubin and Johnson, eds., Verso); a foreword to Bobby M. Wilson’s Birmingham classic America’s Johannesburg (U Georgia Press); and a foreword to Cedric J. Robinson on Racial Capitalism, Black Internationalism, and Cultures of Resistance (HLT Quan, ed., Pluto). Forthcoming projects include Change Everything: Racial Capitalism and the Case for Abolition (Haymarket); Abolition Geography (Verso); plus a collection of Stuart Hall’s writing on race and difference (co-edited with Paul Gilroy, Duke UP). Gilmore has lectured in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America. In April 2019  Rachel Kushner profiled her in The New York Times Magazine. Honors include the American Studies Association Angela Y. Davis Award for Public Scholarship (2012); the Association of American Geographers Harold Rose Award for Anti-Racist Research and Practice (2014); the SUNY-Purchase College Eugene V. Grant Distinguished Scholar Prize for Social and Environmental Justice (2015-16); the American Studies Association Richard A Yarborough Mentorship Award (2017); The Association of American Geographers Lifetime Achievement Award (2020); and most recently (along with Angela Y. Davis and Mike Davis) she was named winner of 2020 Lannan Foundation Lifetime Cultural Freedom Prize.
Research Interests: Structural Adjustment & New Alignments: Revolution and Reform; Race, Space, and Place: Environments and Movements; Infrastructure; Prison; The Movement of Capital and Labor: Urban-Rural Continuities; The African Diaspora.

Unparalleled Prospect: the crises of public health and social injustice and the expansion of public space, presented by Vikas Mehta, PhD

Please join us for our upcoming PSRG Network Event, Unparalleled Prospect: the crises of public health and social injustice and the expansion of public space, presented by Vikas Mehta, PhD


COVID-19 has forced an adaptation of urban space. This public health crises with all the disparities and inequities, has also brought a remarkable change — limited access to formal spaces has driven people to claim agency to appropriate space, particularly in neighborhoods. This is an unparalleled prospect, an unusual opportunity to rethink the making of public space.


Vikas Mehta, PhD, is a Professor of Urbanism, the Fruth/Gemini chair and Ohio Eminent Scholar of urban/environmental design at the University of Cincinnati.



Event information

May 7, 2021 / 12:00ET / On the Web


Zoom registration Link

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://gc-cuny-edu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvd-6rpzIrH9NYHk4xM7jnMTHMQXefWt4p [gc-cuny-edu.zoom.us]

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Dr. Sholette’s “The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art”

Earth and Environmental Sciences Doctoral Program
Presents a Lecture by
Dr. Gregory Sholette

Queens College

“The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art”

Professor Sholette presents an excerpt from his forthcoming book The Art of Activism and the Activism of Art, in which he focuses on the problem of representing collective social agency in itself, a phenomenon that even when imaged or photographed, remains furtive, glimpsed in snippets, or suppressed beneath narratives promoting individuality and personal freedom. Apart from a few exceptions, the image of the communal body as such remains willfully absent from view or consideration within mainstream visual art and art history, belonging instead to what Katherine McKittrick calls the “psychic-unimaginable,” an uncategorizable presence involving the bodies of colonized and enslaved peoples, and expanded here to include revolutionary mass actions such as slave uprisings.  At the same time, how can any artist refuse the effort to bring this other social agency into view? After all, it is a goal that has consumed artists from Courbet to today’s social art practitioners, as much as it has consumer capitalism’s marketeers and data collectors. All of which begs the question: how do art activists picture the social, and does this endeavor aim to repair a broken archival imaginary?


April 15, 2021 4:15-6:15 p.m. EST

Cindi Katz is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Colloquium—Dr. Gregory Sholette

Time: Apr 15, 2021 04:10 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 811 205 1577
Passcode: EES

Dr. Gregory Sholette is a New York-based artist, writer, activist and a co-founder of Social Practice Queens (SPQ) that he co-directs with Professor Chloë Bass. His art explores issues of artistic labor, historical representation and political resistance, and his critical writing documents and reflects upon several decades of activist art. Sholette’s projects include “Reworking Labor,” Sullivan Galleries, Chicago (2019); Lost In Europe, Open Space gallery, Vienna (2018); Dark Matter Games in Venice, Italy (best 2017 exhibition wrote Manuel Borja-Villel for Artforum, Dec. issue), and the one-person exhibition DARKER at Station Independent Projects NYC (2017). Active with Gulf Labor Coalition he was a co-founder of the collectives Political Art Documentation/Distribution (PAD/D: 1980-1988), and REPOhistory (1989-2000). A former Mellon Fellow at the CUNY Center for the Humanities he guest edited a special 2019 double issue of FIELD Journal of Socially Engaged Art with over thirty global reports focusing on “Art, Anti-Globalism, and the Neo-Authoritarian Turn.” His publications include the books Art As Social Action (with Chloë Bass, Skyhorse Press, 2018), Delirium and Resistance (2017, Pluto Press); Dark Matter: Art and Politics in the Age of Enterprise Culture (2010, Pluto); It’s the Political Economy, Stupid (2012, Pluto); Collectivism After Modernism (U. Minn., 2006); and The Interventionists (2004, MIT), and contributes to FIELD, Artforum, October, Afterall, Text zur Kunst, Hyperallergic, Frieze, e-flux and Johns Hopkins ASAP journal. Sholette holds a PhD in History and Memory Studies from the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands (2017), he is a graduate of the Whitney Independent Study Program in Critical Theory (1996), Graduate of University of California San Diego (1995), and The Cooper Union School of Art (1979), and Bucks County Community College (1974), served as a Curriculum Committee member of Home WorkSpace Beirut education program and is an associate of the Art, Design and the Public Domain program of Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.

Environmental Psychologists Responding to COVID: Re-creating Assignments in a Context of Global Crisis (April 30th)

Environmental Psychologists Responding to COVID: Re-creating Assignments in a Context of Global Crisis

We are approaching April 30th and would like to invite you all to a collective moment of exchanges in the event Environmental Psychologists Responding to COVID: Re-creating Assignments in a Context of Global Crisis organized by Erin Lilli and Fernanda Vidal and sponsored by TLH – Transformative Learning in the Humanities. As you will see we have 10 environmental psychologists from NY, Canada, and Brazil sharing their assignments and projects adapted to address the pandemic.

For more information and to register please visit this  link.




Presentations include EP scholars Jennifer Pipitone, Valkaria Duran-Narucki, Eve Klein, Tomo Imamichi, and Chris Hoffman.




EP Student Javier Otero Peña Shares Research on Parks in Gentrifying NYC Neighborhoods

Please join us TODAY for our PSRG Network Event, Residents’ feelings towards park renovations in low-income gentrifying neighborhoods: Latest findings of an ethnographic study in NYC, presented by Javier Otero Peña.

Everyone deserves access to parks of quality. In an effort to make cities more just, local authorities in many cities around the world are investing in public spaces in neglected, low-income and highly dense neighborhoods. However, studies show that such investments may contribute to increasing land values and rents (Crompton, 2005), and as a paradoxical consequence, population in these areas shifts, and the low-income residents for whom the renovations were intended end up displaced to other areas of the city (Gould & Lewis, 2017). It is unclear whether this threat of displacement is known by residents, and whether the degree of gentrification in the area changes how residents perceive park renovations and investment in their neighborhoods. Do they welcome the changes or are they wary of improvements allegedly intended for them? This study is an ethnography of parks renovated in low-income gentrifying neighborhoods in New York City, from an urban environmental justice perspective. Using Rapid Ethnographic Assessment Procedures (Low et al., 2005), residents and users of four parks in minority-majority neighborhoods at different stages of gentrification were interviewed about their feelings towards renovations and neighborhood change itself, with an emphasis on procedural and interactional justice, and on identifying potential mixed feelings.

Event information

Friday, April 9, 2021 / 12p ET / On the Web


Zoom Registration Link


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

javocolor (1)

Javier Otero Peña is a PhD candidate in Environmental Psychology from Caracas, Venezuela. Javier is the Student Advisor for the M.S. in Data Analysis and Visualization at The Graduate Center, CUNY. He is also a research associate at the Public Space Research Group, and a research assistant for the PARCS study in the CUNY School for Public Health. His dissertation looks at park use, park renovations and place attachment in New York City.
Javier’s field research paper studied the politicization of public spaces through a participatory mural in East Harlem. He was a GC Digital Fellow from 2016-2020. In 2016, he took part in the CUNY-Humboldt University Summer School in Berlin, and in 2017 he participated in the Digital Humanities Research Institute in Victoria University, Canada. He was a Digital Humanities Research Institute Fellow in 2018-19, and received the Provost’s Digital Innovation Grant in 2017 and 2019.
Javier holds a Master in Environmental Policies and Sustainable Development, and taught a class on Sustainable Development in Latin America and the Caribbean at the Paris Catholic University. He also studied Urban Planning and Management at UCV, and Sustainable Urban Mobility in Developing Countries (UNITAR). Javier worked as a consultant for the United Nations Environment Programme for three years.
Research interests: public space,  urban environmental justice, place attachment, arts, culture & identity, sustainability & climate change action, Latin America and the Caribbean.

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