Research Summary

Valerie Chang Greer’s research investigates the intersections of design and health, and examines how places construct platforms for equity and wellness across the lifespan. She uses participatory research methods to focus on place-based issues related to aging and health.


  • Bachelor of Arts, English Literature, Northwestern University. Project: Thesis: "Representations of Obeah in Post Colonial Literature;" Graduation with Honors
  • Master of Architecture, Architecture, Washington University in St. Louis. Project: Degree Project: "Warehousing Landscapes - Reimagining Earth City as a Post Industrial Site;" Graduation with Honors


Valerie Chang Greer is an architect whose experience in practice has focused on the design of complex building types, including international airports, laboratories and hospitals.  Greer was a senior designer and Vice President at global design firm HOK where she contributed to projects honored with significant design awards including AIA COTE Top Ten Green Award and the Chicago Athenaeum Award; and achievements in sustainability including LEED Platinum and Green Mark Platinum. As a licensed practitioner, Greer is committed to being actively involved from early phases of design through the close of construction on projects, working with cross disciplinary teams to translate ideas, concepts and needs into built environments.  

Drawing from her background in practice, Greer focuses on health environments, resilient places and aging in her research and teaching.  She has served as Principal Investigator on funded research at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Utah. Greer's work focuses on interactions that people have with their environments, and draws on lived experiences, observational data and thematic analysis to inform future design thinking about the relationships between place and health. Her work is published in international journals including HERD: Health Environments Research & Design Journal, Ageing & Society and the Journal of Applied Gerontology.  

Greer’s experience bridging between academics and practice has uniquely positioned her to build innovative disciplinary collaborations.  She has created workshops and on-site learning opportunities for students who are interested in health environments and design, with topics ranging from mental health to aging.  Greer has been awarded funding to document creative work and research on these topics, and was the recipient of a 2023 Group Teaching Grant from the University of Utah. She teaches design studios and professional practice at the undergraduate and graduate level, and serves as Director of Graduate Studies.

Greer is a co-director of the Healthy Aging Resilient Places (HARP) Lab, a co-founder of the Design Institute for Health Resilience (DIHR) and an affiliate member of the University of Utah Center on Aging. She currently serves on the Board of the National Organization for Minority Architects (NOMA) Utah, and the Community Design Center ASSIST. Greer is a peer reviewer for journals including Health Environments Research & Design Journal, the Journal of Applied Gerontology, PLOS One and the Gerontologist. She volunteers through Girl Scouts of Utah as co-leader of a Girl Scouts troop.