Whitney Fleming completed her PhD in the Human Dimensions of Conservation at Oregon State University, in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Sciences. She used big data to model the effects of biodiversity, forest health, environmental pollution, and green space on subjective aspects of human wellbeing in the Puget Sound area of Washington.
At Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, she continues to study aspects of wellbeing related to the environment. Here, her research is conducted in Haifa. She uses field-based tests to measure the components of nature that subjects observe consciously, then employs questionnaires, and finally, uses the virtual 3D environment in the lab at Technion, which features eye-tracking technology to see how subjects respond to environments containing different nature-based solutions (NbS) such as restored natural ecosystems, trees planted in streets, and green roofs. While many have assumed that an NbS that solves one issue will also mitigate others, Dr. Fleming aims to understand which conditions deliver which benefits. She hopes that identifying the extent and quality of nature needed to reduce detrimental impacts of urbanization on biodiversity and on people’s quality of life will contribute to sustainable urban planning.
Dr. Fleming has done socio-ecological field work in other parts of the American northwest, as well as in Namibia, Panama, São Paulo, Oman, Qatar, and Nepal.