Episode Archive

SCP E104 When immediate needs drive Smart Community thinking, with Ricardo Van Loenen

In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, Zoe has a fascinating conversation with Ricardo Van Loenen, the CEO and co-Founder of B. Building Business in Amsterdam. As this episode goes live Zoe will be in Amsterdam as part of her Churchill Fellowship, and if you want to hear all about her trip, remember to head to Pozible.com to get access to her special podcast all about what she’s learning on her Fellowship. It’s available exclusively to supporters so head to Pozible.com now, search My Smart Community, and hit support to get access to those bonus podcast episodes. 

In this episode, Ricardo tells us about B Building Business, the startup ecosystem turned Smart City Hub he has been a part of creating in Amsterdam and how it has really sparked his interest in the Smart Community Space. Zoe and Ricardo discuss how the Netherlands is embracing Smart concepts, and the power of having an immediate need driving innovation and investment. Ricardo shares some of the projects he’s been working on and why governments and corporations can and should work together to build the city of the future. They finish their chat discussing the emerging trends of education, inclusivity and diversity being more important than technology when building Smart Communities. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Ricardo’s background in marketing and his passion for connecting people to solve problems together
  • How working on B Building Business sparked his interest in the Smart Community space 
  • What a Smart City is and why Ricardo feels it’s so important
  • How the Netherlands is embracing Smart Concepts
  • The problems of overflows of water, and too many tourists and cyclists in Amsterdam
  • The power of having immediate needs driving innovation and investment in Smart solutions to new and old problems
  • The Smart City Hub project that Ricardo is working on currently
  • Ricardo’s experience with integrating across multiple disciplines, governments and industries
  • Why governments and corporations can and should work together building the city of the future
  • The emerging trends of education, inclusivity and diversity being more important than technology when building Smart Communities


“I don’t think you are a Smart City if you have wifi in the city, I think a Smart City goes more back [to] how to do you do the distribution, logistics, how can you make it in a way that you’re self-sustainable, taking all the big challenges and put it into positives.? An important part of a Smart City are Smart people. How do you involve a society within the city and give everybody enough rights and possibilities to grow?”

“Going back to how cities started, I think we created a lot of problems ourselves. If you take all the food production out of the areas where people live, you create a lot of logistics problems. With the new technology you will be able to produce food in high density areas… Now you can do affordable indoor farming and it’s working perfectly.”

“The funny thing is we now have traffic jams with cyclists in the city, so that’s a problem…[Cycling is] a common Dutch thing, so it’s hard to change something if it’s already working.”

“If you don’t really need to innovate because the problem is not high enough, there’s not enough eagerness to do so. If you need to change things, it will be done much quicker than if the need isn’t [immediate] or people don’t see it.”

“You can design your own self-driving car but if you can’t drive it on the public roads you really have nothing, so it’s really important to work closely together on designing the city of the future. The governments don’t have the money for it, the corporations don’t have the regulations for it, so let’s put this together and work together.”


B. Building Business https://b-buildingbusiness.com/ 

Smart Hub https://b-buildingbusiness.com/smartcityhub/

Picnic https://picnic.app/

An article about the Picnic App – grocery delivery using electric cars in Amsterdam https://www.reuters.com/article/us-netherlands-grocery-internet/startup-picnic-runs-grocery-delivery-bus-in-dutch-online-shopping-boom-idUSKCN1LZ244


Connect with Ricardo via LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital


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