SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova was a key-note speaker at the International Air Quality and Climate Solutions Summit at London City Hall together with the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. On July 19, 2022, representatives of over 20 global cities – from Seattle to Johannesburg, from Warsaw to Los Angelis, from Lima to Quezon City, from Nairobi to Montreal - got together to discuss how to reduce the emissions by half within one decade to promote health and social justice and foster sustainability.

The speech of Mayor Fandakova came only 2 days before the upcoming vote in Sofia Municipal Council on the introduction of the low emission zone is Sofia – not only the first one in Bulgaria, but the first one in Eastern Europe. The low emission zone introduction was prepared in the framework of INNOAIR with research, three pilots and a white book and the proposed Ordinance is published for public consultations.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan congratulated Sofia for the brave climate leadership and shared the effects of the low emission zone in London: 20% less NO2 concentrations in inner London as 94% of all vehicles in the zones meet the strict eco standards, up from 37% in 2017.

The plans of Sofia were supported by the World Health Organization, whose representative Dr Maria Neira expressed her wish to visit Sofia, get first-hand experience and promote its achievements in stopping the invisible health crisis.

During the summit the delegation of Sofia had bilateral meetings with Clean Air Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, representatives of cities, businesses and international organizations.

C40 is a network of mayors of nearly 100 leading world cities committed to cooperate and take urgent actions to address the climate crisis.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.


Sofia Coin – nudging healthier travel behavior for cleaner air

 Learn more about the measures that Sofia takes in order to improve the air quality in Sofia. Discover SofiaCoin – the app that rewards the users that move actively around the city and tracks their roads so that Sofia Municipality could renovate them with priority. Hear out about the idea behind its development, the opinion of Sofia Municipality representatives and most importantly – the opinion of its users. The podcast is hosted by Gereon Meyer (UIA expert). 








Very soon, a new transport service will be introduced in Sofia - public transport on demand in the south-western districts of Sofia. The minibuses will be electric and their routes will be determined based on the demand of the users. The new electric minibuses will be requested by a mobile application, they will pick up citizens from the nearest possible point and take them to the nearest subway or tram line. This innovative transport service is implemented for the first time in Europe and in the framework of INNOAIR project.

Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association organized a design competition for the new transport service in partnership with New Bulgarian University. The students' task was to create a design that shows that the minibuses are part of the public transport system, but also that their use is via an application and without a fixed route.

Students from the Bachelor's program "Web Design and Graphic Advertising", NBU, took part in the competition and worked on the projects with great desire and enthusiasm. The projects they present are creative and colorful, modern and simple. A jury composed of representatives of the Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association and New Bulgarian University made the difficult decision which projects should be implemented. Three projects reached the final, and two of them will be realized, as their designs are similar and complement each other. These are the projects of Kemi Dimitrova Kostadinova and Vanessa Ventsislavova Panayotova. Congratulations on the ideas, we look forward to seeing them implemented soon!

The competition is held within the INNOAIR project, the first and so far the only project from Bulgaria, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. The project introduces for the first time in Europe on demand public transport, as well as for the first time in Sofia and Bulgaria low emission zone, green corridors, and the mobile application SofiaCoin with awards for active transport.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.


Sofia and Semarang cooperate on sustainable urban mobility

With support from the EU-funded International Urban and Regional Cooperation (IURC) programme, from June 27th to July 1st, 2022, a delegation from Sofia visited the Indonesian city of Semarang to exchange experiences, share good practices and identify joint pilot actions both cities would implement in 2023 in the area of sustainable urban mobility.

“The European Union is committed to contributing to Indonesia’s urban development and its aspirations to achieve the SDGs and Vision 2045,” said HE Vincent Piket, Ambassador of the European Union to Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. “We are delighted to support the partnership on urban mobility between Semarang and Sofia under the IURC programme as this is a notable issue that cities around the world are facing. I hope this cooperation will offer new opportunities for learning to address the challenge.”

Since the launch of their cooperation last November 2021, this is the first time Sofia and Semarang officials have met in person. In a series of online meetings prior to this visit, the two cities have identified sustainable urban mobility as their area of interest. The Indonesian city is keen to share its experience in working with the private sector to provide public transport and discuss the plans to develop dedicated bus lanes for Bus Trans Semarang and the reactivation of the tram system to connect with tourist areas. “According to our Urban Mobility Plan, the goal is for the use of private vehicles to decrease to 60% and that of public transport to increase to 40% by 2040,” said Mr Hendrar Prihadi, Mayor of Semarang City. “Also, the integrated mass transit system is expected to cover 95% of the city’s total area. We believe our cooperation with Sofia will deliver concrete recommendations on the execution of our plan to achieve the 2040 target.”

Semarang and Sofia city officials visited the city’s Traffic Control Centre to observe its work, experienced Bus Trans Semarang, visited Semarang’s tram routes, and met with the mayor of Semarang, city official, representatives from Gojek company to explore cooperation and possible business opportunities. The Sofia representatives shared good practices appropriate for transfer, such as the INNOAIR project on-demand public transport, SofiaCoin mobile app encouraging active and public transport use by citizens, branding public transport vehicles to promote tourism, etc.

Following this visit, Semarang is scheduled to visit Sofia in September 2022. A joint pilot action between the two cities is expected to be developed soon afterwards.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.



INNOAIR – the project that favours both environment and citizens

The main ideas and novelties behind INNOAIR project were presented at the 7th edition of the European Congress of Local Authorities in Mikolajki, Poland, 11-12 April 2022. The Congress represents a platform for exchange of views and for meetings of leaders of local and regional authorities from Poland with representatives of the state administration, NGOs, business and their partners from abroad.

Two of the partners under INNOAIR project were also among the invited participants to the event - Yana Docheva, Head of International Cooperation Department at NAMRB and Gergana Ugrinska, Head of International Activities Department at Urban Mobility Centre – Sofia.

In the framework of the session, focused on the topic of turning green investments into a benefit to all, Yana Docheva shared with the participants that Bulgaria and Poland face common challenges, priorities and goals in achieving environmental change, but have different starting points. Green transformations begins at the local level, local authorities know best the needs of the citizens, that is why municipalities should be the role model for carrying out the activities in implementing the upcoming changes. "We need to focus on what lies ahead for local authorities, because our energy and environmental transformation did not begin yesterday, but many years ago. Some municipalities are more advanced in implementing green ideas, others are just beginning. This highlights the differences in the problems we have to deal with" said Yana Docheva, emphasizing that if we want to achieve the expectations for climate neutrality and safe environment, we need mutual cooperation between citizens, business and the state.

Regarding the role of local authorities and businesses in finding environmental solutions, she presented the project "INNOAIR", implemented by Sofia Municipality in partnership with 2 universities, 2 NGOs, 2 companies and one national institute. With this innovative idea for green public transport on demand, the municipality aims to propose a qualitative change in the way mobility is organized in the capital city. Based on users’ requests submitted via an online application, an optimal route of transportation by electric buses is created, covering the maximum number of passengers. The innovation aims to improve accessibility and the cooperation with the business sector to develop and integrate the project, with the academia for data collection and analysis, as well as with the NGO sector to raise awareness and change consumer behaviour is the win-win combination for successful project implementation, shared with the participants Ms. Docheva.

This year the forum brought together more than 1,500 participants from local, regional and executive authorities from Poland, Bulgaria, Israel, Italy, Sweden, Finland, France, the Republic of Northern Macedonia and Albania. MPs, partner associations, associations and business representatives also took part.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.



The Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences includes the youngest in the cause of cleaner air

On the occasion of the children's holiday – the First of June, the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski" organized a sports holiday for children with bicycles in one of the parks in Trakiya region, together with Trakiya District at the Municipality of Plovdiv, Center “Education for Democracy”, Regional Information Center "Europe Direct ” and the Plovdiv Cycling Association “Tsar Simeon”. The event took place on May 29, started at 10:00 a.m. and grew up in a lot of positive emotions, smiles and useful knowledge.

The idea of the event was to attract families with children, and thus to tell children how important it is to walk and ride a bike, even when they grow up, what are the health benefits not only for those who are engaged in sports, but also for the environment. In this way, children would develop an attitude towards nature, health care and empathy for others. All children received hats and flags with the INNOAIR logo to remind them of the day and what they had learned.

Their parents also got acquainted with the activities of the INNOAIR project. Young and old learned about the innovative transport on demand, the green corridors, the congestion charge and the SofiaCoin application . The participants shared that they appreciate the efforts and measures that Sofia is making to improve air quality and would be happy to implement some of them in Plovdiv.

The sports holiday was also a part of the eco-initiatives of the University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski", aimed at improving the environment and developing the sports culture of young people in 2022 - officially declared by the EC as the Year of Youth in Europe.

The INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Innovative Urban Development Initiative.


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