Episode Archive

SCP E255 Online Tools Transforming Urban Developments, with Saskia Beer

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a wonderful chat with Saskia Beer. Saskia is an Amsterdam based entrepreneur and founder/director of Transformcity, who help cities and real estate companies around the world with their urban processes. Saskia tells us about her background as an architect, and her transition into urban development after losing her job during the financial crisis. She tells us about her passion for cities and fascination of how cities work together, what a Smart Community is to her and we discuss the importance of diversity in Smart Communities to solve issues. Saskia then tells us how she came to work in the Smart Communities space, how her current work links in with Smart Communities, the importance of collectivity in communities and the need to be adaptable. Saskia then shares with us some of the projects she has been working on split between her consultancy work and creating her online course before telling us about her online tool that helps build and optimise urban strategies. We finish our conversation discussing the emerging trends of a more holistic approach to problem solving in communities. As always, we hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we enjoyed making it! 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Saskia’s background in architecture and her current work in urban development and transformation
  • Her passion for cities and fascination of how they work together 
  • What a Smart Community is to Saskia
  • The importance of diversity in Smart Communities to solve issues 
  • How Saskia got into the Smart Communities space
  • How her works links into the Smart Communities space and the importance of collectivity in communities and the need to be adaptable 
  • Some of the projects Saskia has been working on, split between her consultant work and creating an online course 
  • Saskia’s online tool that helps build and optimise urban strategies
  • The emerging trends of a more holistic approach to problem solving, taking on a new mindset and looking at what issues need to be solved first and then using technology to solve them 


“Because I’m in the urban development field, a Smart Community for me is very locally defined or geographically defined, it is very much about an area or a district or a large neighbourhood.”

“I decided to adopt the area as a free agent, basically. And starting from the bottom up, and then my idea was, that was the first seed of the Smart Community in my own hat, because as an architect, that was not necessarily a community professional. Quite on the contrary, I guess. But my idea was that in an existing area, there are so many people in an organisation who have something at stake, they have something to win and to lose there.”

“I am passionate about cities, I live in Amsterdam and I am fascinated by how they work as an organism, with all these different people and places and topics and activities going on. I think [cities have] enough to be a lifelong passion for me.”

“I believe in order to really actively but also sustainably tackle local issues and challenges, you really need to have everybody around the table and somehow being a part of that Smart Community.”

“My work has shifted a little bit from doing big projects myself. In the beginning I started with a bottom up initiative that took up all my time. Then I developed an online platform, you could say a Smart Community platform, specific for urban transformation challenges.”

“If you only put tooling online, and expect somehow a local community to self-organise and unlock all kinds of local investments and initiatives, then you’re being naive. I think you need to make sure that you organise your local challenges as a community or as a community platform, kind of organisation, an open way where everybody can bring topics on the agenda and discuss them. And then you can use tooling to support that.”

“Sometimes, the tool can be very simple and analogue. And sometimes you may need something that’s more advanced or more like, technologically complex.”

“I mean, it’s a different type of complexity that we need to acknowledge and address. Maybe not so much like the rocket science of very new technology, but a much broader, interconnected way of addressing complexity and then looking at how technology can help to tackle this.”




Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Saskia via LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

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

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Episode Archive


Want to be a guest?

Would you like to be a guest on The Smart Community Podcast? 
Get in touch and send me your pitch.