Esther Greenhouse, environmental gerontologist, has been dedicated to design which enables people function at the highest level possible for over 20 years. An advocate, advisor, and author, Esther works to raise awareness of the importance and impact of thoughtful design and makes enabling design a reality through speaking, writing, teaching, and consulting.
be enabled by design!
The design of everything we encounter, from a pair of scissors to the entry of a house, to the layout of a neighborhood impacts our functioning. If there is a good fit between our abilities and the design, we function well and the situation is positive. However, the greater the gap between one’s abilities and one’s environment, the more “press” we experience, which decreases our ability to function. It is not us, the people, who are dis-abled, it is the environment which fails to meet those needs which needlessly dis-ables us. Good design can eliminate these obstacles to functioning.
The environments in which we live and work–homes, offices, communities–impact how well or poorly we function every day. When designed thoughtfully, to include the greatest ranges of abilities and needs, they enable people to thrive at their highest level.
Conversely, the standard design of many places forces people to adapt beyond their abilities. Over time, this can lower one’s abilities, to the point that a person may be forced to leave their home and move to an institution.