The Economics of Consumers and Households chair group will from now on go by the new name of Urban Economics, with alumnus Eveline van Leeuwen, now still associate professor at VU Amsterdam, in the chair.
Eveline van Leeuwen: ‘I am focusing on the economics of sustainable consumption and a healthy lifestyle.’ © Peter Gerritsen
Van Leeuwen will succeed emeritus professor Gerrit Antonides in October. She studied land use planning in Wageningen and got her PhD in the Spatial Economics department at VU Amsterdam. She specializes in creating what are called input and output tables which provide insight into economic interaction between city and countryside, and between different sectors within a region. For her PhD research, she and her colleagues built up a dataset with information about the economic activity of households and companies in 30 regions divided over five countries. ‘Then you ask questions such as: where do you shop, where do you work, etc.’
When Van Leeuwen was asked to apply for the new chair at WUR, she did not have to think about it for long. ‘The subject matter is very interesting, and I was keen to work in Wageningen too. I’m working in a nice department at VU Amsterdam, but it is my first employer, and I would like to work in a different environment for a change.’
Van Leeuwen’s brief will be the field of Urban Economics. ‘All economics, in fact, that focuses on the geographical unit of city or region. Yes, that is a broad concept. I am focusing on the economics of sustainable consumption and a healthy lifestyle. How do city dwellers arrive at decisions, and what spatial determinant play a role in this? And secondly, on economics and policy at the meeting point of city and countryside.’
Urban Economics replaces the current Economics of Consumers and Households chair group. Van Leeuwen doesn’t know yet exactly how she will go about her role as chairholding professor. ‘I certainly want the research to be integrated into the Wageningen environment and to complement the existing chair groups. So first I want to inventory who is working on processes taking place in the city, what economic aspects are related to them, and where there are still questions. A nice plan will come out of that, for sure. I am also curious to hear what students need, education-wise.’