This study combines qualitative and quantitative research methods to explain which factors contribute to a problem-free or problematic functioning of neighbourhoods in general and especially of Dutch neighbourhoods that were built in the first years after World War II. An important part of the book is about the development of measuring instruments. Special attention is given to the development of a risk scale that offers researchers and policymakers the opportunity to distinguish on a metric level between problematic and successful neighbourhoods.
This book brings together key insights from urban studies and central elements of Behavioural Game Theory. The author applies the notions of strong reciprocity and altruistic punishment in Prisoner’s Dilemmas and Assurance Games. With these notions she describes and explains the interdependent choices that residents make when they act as producers and maintainers of the social climate of a problem-free early post-World War II neighbourhood.
This book is the result of the third opportunity that arose for me to write a PhD thesis. The first time was shortly after I finished my graduate research, but at that juncture I wanted to try my hand at a job outside the university. Nor did I take the next opportunity because I wanted to work close to home in Overveen, where Luc and I had just bought our first house. The ensuing years were hectic but beautiful: gaining experience in jobs within and outside academia, as a homeowner, and later as a working mother of two great kids. Then I felt an urge welling up from deep inside: to take up the challenge of conducting research and writing a PhD thesis. So when I started to work at OTB in 2003, I seized the opportunity that was offered to me, for which I am very grateful!
A PhD thesis is a demonstration of an individual's capacity to do academic research, yet this cannot be accomplished alone. I am grateful for the help of several others, particularly Professor Peter Boelhouwer. I deeply value his support in allowing me to develop the research in relative freedom, taking this as a sign of his confidence in a good outcome. At the last stage of the writing process, Professor Andreas Flache, as a member of the PhD committee, commented on the draft version. I am very grateful for his important and precise comments, especially on the theoretical framework. I also want to thank my beloved husband Luc Taal – himself a PhD for several years now – for his statistical advice and the anonymous referees who provided very useful comments on earlier versions of the papers and articles contained in this book.
Of particular importance was the opportunity that the OTB Research Institute for Housing and Mobility Studies of TU Delft offered me. At OTB, I could pursue research on an issue that was driven by my own personal interests besides having theoretical and practical relevance. I am grateful to former and current colleagues at the Department of Urban Renewal and Housing for reading and commenting on earlier drafts of the articles comprising my thesis, namely Alex Curley, André Ouwehand, Anirban Pal, Christien Klaufus, Eva Bosch, Frank Wassenberg, Gelske van Daalen, Helen Kruythoff, Leeke Reinders, Marco van der Land, Mariska van der Sluis-van Meijeren, Reinout Kleinhans, Reijnt Sluis, Saskia Binken, Suzanne Davis, Talja Blokland, Ton van der Pennen, and Wenda Doff. Special thanks are due to Martijn Arnoldus and Gwen van Eijk; Martijn helped with constructing and adding variables to the main data file, and Gwen helped interview residents of Buitenveldert-Amsterdam. Thanks are also due to Martine de Jong-Lansbergen and Truus Waaijer, who offered indispensable secretarial support, and to Itziar Lasa Epelde for the graphic design of the manuscript.
I would like to express my gratitude to Professor David Varady of Cincinnati University. I met him at the ENHR conference in Ljubljana in 2006 and then worked with him during his stay as a guest researcher at OTB. We took interesting trips to urban sites in Amsterdam, and he and his wife Adrienne visited us in Overveen. Speaking of home, the loving support of my parents, my sisters and their families, and my friends has been very important to me. I cherish the memory of celebrating not only my birthday with them in the first week of January this year but also the fact that the draft version of the PhD manuscript was ready by then. A special word of thanks goes to my friends Jan Giliam van Arkel and Nelleke den Herder, who will stand by me as my paranimfs when I defend my thesis.
Immeasurable gratitude goes to the three loves of my life, Luc Taal and our kids, Dominique and Catherine. Without them I would not have had the distractions, joy, and courage that were needed to finish this book. Do, too, has reached a milestone: (almost) finished with primary school and starting at the sports junior high school after the summer. And Cath, (almost) eleven, often makes us smile at her impatience about growing up and her outspoken ideas about what she wants to be. Do and Cath, whatever the future brings and whichever choices you make, I am proud of you both and hope you will always be true to yourselves.
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