about esther greenhouse

Helping create environments which enable people to thrive!

esther-greenhouse-smBuilt Environment Strategist

Esther Greenhouse combines her expertise and abilities to fulfill her professional purpose:  helping create environments which enable people to thrive.  She collaborates with communities, organizations, and businesses to harness the power of the built environment to create enabling environments.

The design of the built environment–from the micro scale of products, to the meso of housing, offices, and other interiors, to the macro of neighborhood and community design–is currently not benign.  The status quo of the built environment creates obstacles to functioning.  Why? We have typically been designing and building for a subset of the population:  those of average height and reach and the highest ability sensory ability levels.  This forces everyone else to adapt, is not necessary, and is not good design.  By using informed design which considers the needs of all users, we can create environments which work for everyone.

Working with Esther:  Overview of Services & Benefits to your Organization

Paradigm Shifting Presentations

Esther is a dynamic speaker who inspires people to action by helping them see the untapped power of the built environment and how they can apply the enabling design lens in their work. 

Ideation Advising & Connecting

Esther has an innate ability to connect seemingly unrelated concepts, people, and resources. This is amplified by her knowledge in design, environmental psychology, gerontology, and city & regional planning, along with her contacts in those fields. Her unique perspectives serve as a catalyst for guiding your organization to solutions and new endeavors. 


Whether it is your in-house team or a group of community stakeholders, Esther’s empathy and expertise will create a positive space for exploration of issues, generation of ideas, and reaching consensus on what to prioritize.

With Esther’s guidance, clients use this new lens to evaluate current programs, products, or environments and make necessary revisions. Others use this approach to create new solutions. However you utilize these insights and information, your offerings will be more focused on better meeting the needs of all users.


Esther has been invited to contribute to such projects as Henry Cisneros’ book Independent for Life, the PBS series Design for a Lifetime, the NYS Livable Communities Manual, and the nation’s first elder-focused emergency department at Holy Cross.   Ms. Greenhouse has been a researcher and guest lecturer at Cornell University, where she completed a BS in Interior Design; a Certificate of Gerontology; an MS in Applied Research in Human Environment Relations; and was the first student in the doctoral program of Human Behavior & Design, in the Department of Design and Environmental Analysis, and minored in City & Regional Planning.

“Esther Greenhouse demonstrates through her research, writing, presentations, and work with builders that she has important answers to the challenges of preparing the nation’s housing stock for the growing number of aging Americans who want or need to live at home.  Her work is based on solid research and is grounded on practical solutions available to the building industry.  Esther’s skills are unique and well-matched to the hard work ahead as we prepare our homes and communities for the future.”  

The Honorable Henry Cisneros, Secretary of Housing & Urban Development 1993-1997; Founder and Executive Chairman, City View

Ms. Greenhouse has served as an advisor to an array of clients such as major manufacturers, senior housing, and hospitals.  She is a speaker nationally at the American Planning Association National Conference, the Aging In America Conference, and the Universal Design Summit, as well as locally and regionally for senior advocacy groups, municipalities, and professional associations.  In 2008, the CAPS Board of Governors selected her as the Certified Aging in Place Specialist of the Year for her advocacy and excellence in teaching.   Her work and messages have been featured in Professional Builder, Remodeling, and The New York Times.  Ms. Greenhouse recently co-authored the American Planning Association’s (APA) first Aging in Community Policy Guide.  She was recently appointed to AARP NY’s Executive Council and is an Industry Scholar at the Cornell Institute for Healthy Futures.