Prof. dr. Jasper Eshuis about research in Berkeley

We plan to investigate how citizens deal with emotions around real estate developments and what it means for their participation in plan development.
Prof. dr. Jasper Eshuis

Erasmus Trust Fund Subsidy for Research into Emotions in Real Estate Developments

How do citizens respond to urban development plans and the construction of new real estate and how can governments best handle the emotions that come up during these processes? These questions are central to the research conducted by dr. Jasper Eshuis of the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Eshuis will conduct this interdisciplinary study of public administration experts and pyschologists in collaboration with the University of Berkeley. He won a Timeless Grant from the Erasmus Trust funds and will start his overseas research adventure in October 2019.

Emotions in real estate developments

"Emotions play a significantly large role in our democracy. One could argue that we live in a drama-type democracy. We plan to investigate how citizens deal with emotions around real estate developments and what it means for their participation in plan development.

An example of such emotions is the anger that arose among citizens during the plans to build a Google headquarters in Berlin. The protest in Berlin led to this project discontinuing. In addition to negative emotions, real estate plans can also evoke enthusiasm, for example, when there are plans to build new houses. Such responses can be a major support in neighborhood development. For the time being, the government often chooses to ignore or suppress the emotions of citizens. Previous research provides indications that this is probably not such a good strategy.”

A collaboration in many areas

“This research is a collaboration between University of California (Berkeley) and Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR). For me, this is a huge opportunity to collaborate with top international researchers. Both in Berkeley and Rotterdam, we will use experiments to investigate how people can regulate emotions about real estate plans, and what this means for their participation in planning.

With this interdisciplinary research, we can contribute to vital cities because we will increase knowledge about emotions and participation in urban development. Participation is important for the vitality of cities and good emotional regulation is directly linked to people's well-being.

Initially, this research is very innovative in scientific terms. Psychologists are knowledgeable about emotions and emotional regulation, public administration experts are knowledgeable about citizen participation. From the field of Psychology, prof. dr. Marise Born (EUR) and dr. Iris Mauss (Berkeley), prof. dr. Jurian Edelenbos (EUR) and I from the field of Public Administration (EUR). We use research methods to measure emotions that have never been used in public administration. Secondly, the collaboration with Berkeley is fascinating. The Erasmus Trust Fund stands for a vital EUR, and a collaboration with such a top university is therefore greatly appreciated. Thirdly, we give space to young talent, a notion that the Erasmus Trust Fund finds important. We are going to involve PhD students and two Bachelor's students from the Honours program."