Welcome New Students!

The Environmental Psychology program at the Graduate Center at the City University of New York would like to welcome 3 new students!

Manju Adikesavan

Manju Adikesavan is an architect-planner with multi-sectoral experience in urban planning and design, technology training, gender justice, and youth empowerment. Manju began her career working first as a planning consultant for regional development agencies and subsequently as an urban researcher of context and evidence-based planning and design practices in southern and western India. A wish to expand her horizons led Manju to enroll in CUNY Graduate Center’s M.A. in Liberal Studies program in 2014. Since then she has worked in advocacy, capacity building, and community service activities with New York City’s at-risk youth and under-served communities.

Manju believes a well-designed, affirming, healthful, and inclusive built environment is a crucial need and a basic human right. And, the facilitation of positive people-place connections that ensure access to the resources and opportunities necessary for living healthy, happy, and fulfilled lives is a vital requirement of urban planning and environmental design.   Towards this end, Manju intends her doctoral work to further understanding of people-place connections and place-making practices. Of special interest are small-scale, critical, and creative people-place interactions that emphasize the individual and collective agency of people and communities in making their environments livable.


Sarah Kahl

Sarah graduated from Oberlin College in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology. She received honors for her senior project, which addressed how biophilic architecture is more likely to increase ones sense of well-being and emotional connection with the natural world than regular buildings. Sarah was also a researcher for the Community-Based Social Marketing group at Oberlin, which aimed to promote sustainable behaviors in students throughout Oberlin. She co-wrote a chapter about some of the initial environmental marketing campaigns in, “The Contribution of Social Sciences to Sustainable Development at Universities”.

Sarah will be starting at CUNY in the Fall of 2018 and will study how housing policies and gentrification affect minority populations, as well as how to promote sustainable and affordable housing.



Mahnaz Izadi

I studied Bachelor of Architectural Engineering and Master of Architecture, both at University of Art at Tehran, Iran. My main area of research interest is studying human-environment interactions, with a special focus on vulnerable populations like children, and my Master’s thesis was in this domain, Designing a Foster Group Home, with emphasis on the effects of environmental factors on foster children’s development and well-being. It was an interdisciplinary study, bridging the theories of developmental and environmental psychology to architectural design. Currently, I am working on a review of foster care system in Iran based on Deinstitutionalization Theory, and its implications for architectural design. At the Graduate Center, I’m willing to continue working on children’s environments, especially for more sensitive children, such as foster kids and street children. I’m also interested in participatory design with children and the issues of social justice in planning and design.


Research interests:

Environmental Psychology, Children’s Environment, Participatory Planning and Design, Social Ecology, Social and Environmental Justice, Child-Friendly Environments, Environment and Health, Environments of Vulnerable Populations

Welcome to the Environmental Psychology program!

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.