Sherry Ahrentzen

Shimberg Professor of Housing Studies, University of Florida

Sherry Ahrentzen, PhD, joined the Shimberg Center for Housing Studies at the University of Florida in 2011. She is a Professor in the M.E. Rinker, Sr., School of Construction Management. Prior to 2011, Dr. Ahrentzen was Associate Director of the Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family at Arizona State University (ASU) for six years; and before then, Professor of Architecture at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

Her research focusing on housing and community design that fosters the physical, social and economic health of households has been published extensively in journals, such as Journal of Architectural and Planning Research, Harvard Design Magazine, Indoor Air, Journal of Social Issues, Planning, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, and Progressive Architecture. As a leader in social justice research, Dr. Ahrentzen has championed the needs of underserved and marginalized populations who are often left out of the design and planning process. She has presented her work at conferences of national and international professional and academic organizations, including annual conferences of American Institute of Architects, Environmental Design Research Association, National Healthy Homes Conference, and European Network of Housing Research.

She has over 60 published articles, chapters, and reports, and has received more than 30 research and instructional grants from various agencies. Her research has been funded by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, Urban Land Institute, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, American Institute of Architects, Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, National Center for Real Estate Research, Graham Foundation for the Study of the Arts, among others.

She is past chair of the Advisory Board of the Housing Knowledge Community of the American Institute of Architects, and sits on the editorial board of Journal of Environmental Psychology. While at ASU and UWM, she worked with several community organizations on housing and community development projects, and she continues community partnerships in Florida at the local and state level. While in Phoenix, she was an Advisory Council member of LISC Phoenix and on the Board of Directors of Newtown Community Land Trust (Tempe, Arizona).

Currently, Dr. Ahrentzen is a Board member of Rebuilding Together North Central Florida, and also serves on the advisory council of ROOF, Inc. (Residential Options of Florida), a non- profit housing organization sponsored by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council to increase inclusive housing opportunities for Floridians with developmental disabilities.

Her teaching efforts are directed towards demonstrating the application of research and theory to housing, architectural/environmental design and urban/community planning, emphasizing a broad methodological range of inquiry and action. She has taught at undergraduate, Master's and doctoral levels.

Her most current research efforts involved leading a multidisciplinary research team in examining the impacts of green building practices on resident health and indoor environmental quality in housing of low-income seniors in Phoenix. She has also co-authored a book with Kim Steele on designing and developing housing for adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions (publication in summer 2015 by Policy Press). Her doctorate in Social Ecology from the University of California reflects the multidisciplinary nature and collaboration of her research and teaching practices.

In 2003 she received the Distinguished Professor Award from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; in 2009 she received the Career Award from the Environmental Design Research Association; and in 2014, she was the recipient of the ARCC James Haecker Award for Distinguished Leadership in Architectural Research.


  • –present
    Shimberg Professor of Housing Studies, University of Florida