Saskia Beer (1981) is an Amsterdam-based urban transformation entrepreneur and founder of ZO!City (formerly known as Glamourmanifest) and TransformCity®. She was trained as an architect and worked for renowned offices In The Netherlands and Japan. In the beginning of the crisis, she was one of the many architects that lost their job. She decided to thoroughly redefine her role by unsolicitedly initiating local projects for making the city more attractive, inclusive and resilient.
As a leading urban transformation pioneer, she gives regular talks to both students and professionals and is actively involved in the discourse about new strategies for community-based urban development. She has been a guest lecturer at, a.o., Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, Delft University of Technology, Amsterdam School of Real Estate and IHEDATE and has attended several urban award juries.
In 2011 Glamourmanifest unsolicitedly adopted Amstel3, a 250 ha office district in Amsterdam with a 30% vacancy rate. After the municipality had to withdraw from their top-down redevelopment plans, Glamourmanifest built a multi-stakeholder support base around the transformation challenges and opportunities in Amstel3. The approach and impact evolved incrementally. An on-going campaign with unconventional storytelling, temporary interventions and social and co-design events with the local community, municipality and external specialists lead to a shared urban vision and to the alliances and investments needed to execute the first real projects.
This next step in community-based urban development brings about a new and innovative tool. In February 2016, TransformCity® launches its worldwide pilot in Amstel3, further empowering local citizens and communities to take real ownership over the transformation of their own neighbourhood.