Saskia Beer chuckles when she says: “As an architect I used to think I was always right, but I know now that this is not always the case.” She is the initiator behind Smart City concepts and platforms where involvement and partnerships between the municipality, organisations, developers, companies and residents in a community bring magic to an area. Behind the drawing table and as an outsider you do not always come up with the best solutions for buildings or areas in that neighbourhood. People from the community have proven that they can bring fantastic ideas to the table that are really well grounded and based on their daily use of the area.
As many of the greatest initiatives they are often born out of a crisis situation. This case is not different. In 2009, a period where as a result of the financial and economic crisis, the Amsterdam area of Holendrecht was left alone with a developing project. Funds dried up, project killed. But they did not count on Saskia Beer. She brought as many parties to the table as she could. Together they built a plan, Saskia developed a platform where all ideas could be shared and a crowdfunding model was also introduced. This meant a rebirth of the project, in another form. The municipality saw that this was working really well, investment was coming in through crowdfunding and they decided to invest as well. Long story short, this model has been replicated. Twenty cities in the world are now waiting in line to implement this model in their cities as well.