Danielle Bashan

Research area

Planning nature in cities:  understanding the “dose” of nature needed to achieve ecological and social objectives in urban planning

Supervisor: Assistant Professor Assaf Shwartz

The goal of my interdisciplinary Ph.D. project is to identify those elements of nature that provide health and well-being benefits and quantify the “dosage” needed to ensure the provision of those benefits. To achieve this, I first plan to thoroughly explore the contemporary literature that relate to people-nature interactions in order to map all existing knowledge on the specific elements of nature that provide health and well-being benefits. I will then conduct experiments in the field, as well as in the 3D visualization lab, to explore how these elements could be related to measurable health and well-being proxies. Finally, building on this knowledge I plan to conduct an ecological survey to explore how to best integrate nature in cities in a way that balance between ecological and social objectives under different planning scenarios ranging between sparing and sharing.

This is the first empirical and theoretical attempt to explore the spatial distribution of well-being elements and biodiversity indicators of conservation value. The novelty of this work also lies in its multidisciplinary nature, aligning theories and combining methods from conservation biology and environmental psychology.

The outcomes of this project could also provide guidelines for city planners on how to sustainably integrate nature in cities for the mutual benefit of people and biodiversity conservation under rapidly urbanizing world.

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