about esther greenhouse


Helping society create environments which enable people to thrive!

Advisor, author, speaker, instructor, advocate.

Esther Greenhouse is an environmental gerontologist, specializing in how the design of the built environment impacts the functioning and well-being of seniors.  She is the leading advocate for raising awareness of enabling design and the concept of environmental fit and press.

Ms. Greenhouse’s goal is bringing about a paradigm shift whereby society views enabling design as a missing variable in public health.  It is crucial that decision makers go beyond appreciating good design, to understanding that the status quo of design is not benign, but is actually pushing our nation’s seniors to an artificially lower level of functioning–which is preventable.  She is achieving this change by writing, delivering presentations, teaching, and serving as an advisor to a range of companies and communities.

She 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.

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 International Builders Show, the American Planning Association National Conference, and the Universal Design Summit, as well as locally and regionally for senior advocacy groups and municipalities.  Her work and messages have been featured in Professional Builder, Remodeling, and The New York Times.  Ms. Greenhouse is currently serving on the American Planning Association’s (APA) Aging Policy Task Force and is a reviewer for the Journal of Housing for the Elderly.



“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





  • Cornell University
  • Doctoral studies, Human Behavior & Design, City & Regional Planning, Government & Policy
  • M.S. Applied Research in Human Environment Relations
  • B.S. Design and Environmental Analysis
  • Certificate of Gerontology



collaborating with esther greenhouse


Esther Greenhouse’s overarching goal is to make a difference.  Through enabling design, from the micro scale of products and housing, to the macro scale of neighborhoods and communities, we can remove obstacles to functioning, minimize decline, and improve daily and long-term functioning for people.

Esther’s professional commitment is to create a paradigm shift in our society, whereby enabling design features are viewed as a crucial variable in public health.  Esther’s training in design, gerontology, environmental psychology, and instruction make her a unique, informed, and skilled resource.  Esther’s passion, energy, and commitment to making a difference inspire.  For more information about her work, go to projects.  To see categories of professional services, use the pull-down options under services, including service packages.

A complete CV and references are available by request.