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Marisa Manheim

Marisa Manheim

PhD Candidate, Sustainability, School of Sustainability

School of Sustainability
Arizona State University
PO Box 877904
Tempe, AZ 85287-7904


  • PhD Candidate, Sustainability, School of Sustainability


Marisa Manheim is investigating how embodied knowledge can be made actionable in the governance of sustainability transitions. In her dissertation research, she asks how consumers’ tacit and experiential knowledge gained from everyday encounters with drinking water ("everyday expertise") may influence their willingness to accept new drinking water sources or technologies, such as recycled wastewater. In related work, she is assessing the role public perceptions play in shaping how municipalities pursue wastewater reuse as a regional resilience strategy. Bringing these two research directions together, Marisa is developing public participation methods that invite and legitimize the embodied knowledge of everyday experts to improve how we develop and implement climate change adaptation plans.

Marisa Manheim’ undergraduate and graduate education in design, psychology and human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University emphasized user-engaged research, environmental affordances, and iterative design. She first applied her training to the design of computer interfaces and consumer products. She then shifted to community organizing and food systems design as Director of Community Projects and Policy for urban agriculture nonprofit Grow Pittsburgh. In this role, she facilitated the collaborative design of 26 community gardens, a member-managed tool lending library serving 450 members, and an agricultural land trust. Through these experiences, she noticed how embodied experiences with eating and gardening stimulated behavioral change, environmental agency, and civic participation. This led to her Ph.D. research investigating how embodied experience can be mobilized to build consensus and develop creative approaches to solving society’s sustainability challenges.

Spoken Languages:
Spanish (conversational)


  • MS, Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University, 2003
  • BHA, Psychology and Design, Carnegie Mellon University, 2002