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Nilda Cosco, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor, Director of Programs for the Natural Learning Initiative

Leazar Hall 101


Professor Cosco’s research focuses on the impact of outdoor environments on health outcomes such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, attention functioning, and well-being. Her current research is supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health (NIEHS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the Buffalo Hospital Foundation. She was the Co-PI of the Post Occupancy Evaluation (POE) of Kids Together Park sponsored by the Center for Universal Design in 2005.

She is the co-author of “Well-being by Nature: Therapeutic Gardens for Children” available from Landscape Architecture Technical Information Series, ASLA.

In January 2000, Dr. Cosco co-founded the Natural Learning Initiative (NLI), College of Design NC State University, with responsibilities for design programming and research of outdoor areas for children with and without disabilities.

Before settling in the USA, Dr. Cosco was director of the National Lekotek Center of Argentina, an institution that manages a national system of toy libraries and playrooms, and runs programs for children with special needs and at-risk youth. She coordinated the development of the design guidelines and specifications for the rehabilitation of the headquarters in Buenos Aires, and delivered national and international play-leadership training courses for children with disabilities. In 1995, she trained professional staff for the opening of the National Lekotek Center of Brazil, São Paulo.


Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture Heriot Watt University, Scotland

Bachelor of Educational Psychology Universidad del Salvador, Buenos Aires

Area(s) of Expertise

Impact of designed outdoor environments on children's health outcomes such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, attention functioning, academic performance, and well-being.