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.

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SOFIA DESIGNS THE INNOVATIVE ON-DEMAND TRANSPORT TOGETHER WITH MANASTIRKSI LIVADI RESIDENTS

Sofia municipality, Sofia Development Association, Sofia Urban Mobility Center, Modeshift Europe ltd., together with community association “United for Manastirski Livadi – West” oranized an information day to present the new electric minibuses and the on-demand service in the Manastirski Livadi neighbouthood.

The information day was held at the weekend, om December 3rd, 2022, to allow maximum citizens to get involved. Along one of the major streets, Mur Street, by the kids’ playground, the INNOAIR team put boards with maps of the neighbourhood, workshop materials and snacks and refreshments on the chill morning. The aim was to develop – together with the citizens – potential on-demand bus routes and more importantly – points of interest where citizens would like to get to, as well as preferred time zones for their travel.

The citizens were invited to try the mobile application BUSINN, to see how it works for the driver and for the dispatch back office. The app is based on AI calculating optimum routes to service maximum users and create minimum traffic and waiting times.

One of the e-minibuses was available for the residents to see, get to know its features – from Wi-Fi and power outlets to low floors and a ramp for wheelchairs and pushchairs. The last amenity is of particular importance to the residents since many of them have young children.

Many residents took a ride in the minibus in the neighbourhood and their experience was very positive.

The residents proposed measures how to make this innovative transport service more popular. They were also interested in the tariff and the use of public transport monthly and year cards. Around 20 residents of Manastirski Livadi volunteered to be test users of the app and bus in the coming days and provide feedback on features like ordering, waiting times, routes, etc.

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

      

    

          

INNOAIR – INSPIRATION FOR THE NEW EUI APPLICANTS


After the European Urban Initiative (EUI) announced its first call for proposals with a budget of 50 million to support the New European Bauhaus demonstrators, the Permanent Secretariat organized several information days, one of which was held in Sofia on November 29-30, 2022. The event brought together representatives of DG Regio, Bulgarian and other cities, universities, NGOs, business companies, interested in having their questions answered about funding, project management, innovative solutions.

The event was opened with a welcome address by Kristian Krastev, Sofia deputy mayor on transport and manager of INNOAIR project. As the first and only Bulgarian project supported by the EUI predecessor – Urban Innovative Actions - INNOAIR was invited to share its experience. Sevdalina Voynova briefly presented the project and focused on the lessons learned and what the applicant may expect developing and implementing an innovative project. The other members of the INNOAIR team were also in attendance, directly sharing inspiration and encouragement with the interested future applicants.

The event offered thematic sessions, Q&A, one-to-one consultations with the Permanent Secretariat, networking, and numerous examples how to make our cities better with innovative actions.

 

          

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

SOFIA MUNICIPALITY AND “UNITED FOR MANASTIRSKI LIVADI – WEST” ARE ORGANIZING AN INFO DAY FOR THE NEW ELECTRIC MINIBUSES

Sofia Municipality and “United for Manastirski Livadi - West” are organizing an info day during which the new electric minibuses, that will deliver the innovative “transport on demand” public service, will be shown to citizens of the neighborhood.

The event will start at 11 a.m. on 3th December 2022 on “Mur” street in the “Manastirski Livadi - West” neighborhood in Sofia.

The new vehicles are fully equipped to travel through the southern neighborhoods of Sofia. The goal of this initiative, which is a part of the INNOAIR project, is to make public transportation a preferred way of commuting in the city, by making connections between inner neighborhoods and main crossroads more accessible.

The project partnership, led by Sofia Municipality, includes 2 universities: Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski", Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”; 2 non-for profit organizations: Sofia Development Association, National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria; 2 companies: Sofia Urban Mobility Centre, Modeshift Europe EAAD; and 1 national public authority: National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology. Thus, strong collaboration of city administration, scientists, business and citizens is ensured.

INNOAIR project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. This is the first Bulgarian project selected for funding by UIA.                

TRAINING OF TRAINERS IN VIENNA FACILITATED THE CREATION OF A GAME FOR YOUNG PEOPLE WHICH TEACHES THEM TO COUNTER HATE SPEECH ONLINE

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Between 14th and 16th November an international training under the name of "Digital Gardening: Applying Strategies to Counter Hate Speech Online through Real Case Scenarios" will be held in Vienna, Austria.

The training is a part of the LEAD – Online project, which aims to counter hate speech through education of students and teachers on different ways of adequately respond to hate speech online. It will bring together teachers and trainers from 7 European countries, as well as specialists from 7 organizations and institutions with experience and skills in combating hate speech online. Denitza Lozanova and Snezhina Gabova are representing SDA during the training. Educators from all over Europe will be participants of the event, among which 4 representatives of the Bulgarian formal and informal education system.

The event will be an interactive one with a main goal to create a script for an online game for teachers and students alike, that aims to enrich the ways to recognize and respond to hate speech.

The project is funded by the EU’s Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values programme.

       

SOFIA AT THE 10th INTEGRATING CITY CONFERENCE

The 10th annual conference Integrating Cities is part of EUROCITIES efforts to strengthen the dialogue between European, national and local level experts and decision makers in policy areas that are crucial for the integration of migrants in European cities. The importance of involving cities in the implementation of the European agenda for integration cannot be overstated and the conferences are an excellent opportunity to highlight this fact.

The conference aimed to enable city authorities to exchange experiences and discuss the most efficient practices and strategies for integrating migrants at local level. Over 100 cities got together to share their best practices in integrating third-country nationals and discuss local and European-level perspectives for the future of integration and inclusion. The event offered various opportunities for dialogue between local politicians and senior officials from Europe’s major cities, representatives from EU institutions, international and non- governmental organisations, academics, and migrant communities. The conference wass organised in the framework of the project ‘CONNECTION – CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration actiON’, co-funded by the European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and focuses on “Inclusion for all. Empowering vulnerable migrants in cities”.

Sofia is among the project partners, represented by Sofia Development Association. Sevdalina Voynova was among the conference speakers, in the panel dedicated to migrant access to the labour market, sharing Sofia experience with the Bureau for information and services for third country nationals.

The international conference was held back-to-back with the final Connection event, presenting the guides for cities developed in four areas: city integration strategies, gender perspective to integration, pathways to labour inclusion and one-stop-shop for migrants. SDA co-authored the city guide for access to the labour market, available in English at: https://integratingcities.eu/intro?slide=0

The Bureau is established in the framework of #CONNECTION project and funded by a European grant.

     

      

 

CONNECTION project: CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action, is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

 

HACKATHON “INNOAIRCHALLENGE: JUST GREEN TRANSITION AND URBAN MOBILITY” AWARDS THE MOST NOTABLE PROJECTS FOR FAIR GREEN TRANSITION AND MOBILITY IN SOFIA

Today, November 11th, the finale of the hackathon “InnoAirChallenge: Just Green transition and Urban Mobility” took place. The event brought together experts, business representatives, local authorities and scientific circles together with teams from all over the country and Europe. The purpose of the event, opened by Gencho Kerezov, Deputy Mayor for Digitalization of Sofia Municipality, and Maria Sharkova, Director of DXC Technology, was to develop and present bold technological solutions for the green transition in the field of urban mobility in Sofia.

The hackathon takes place thanks to a partnership between the Sofia Development Association (ARS), Sofia Municipality and DXC Technology. The final was held at the Launchee hub. The initiative started at the beginning of the week with 25 teams from 9 cities and 3 countries, of which 15 advanced to the final stage of the competition and had the opportunity to present their projects to the jury and the public.

Participants were people from all over Bulgaria, of different ages and with different professional interests, and the competition was supplemented by a team from the United Kingdom. The main challenges that the teams had to face were related to four main themes:
          • mobility as a service;
          • the next generation of public transport stops and routes;
          • facilitated parking and use of a parking space;
          • the need to involve citizens in making transport decisions.

In the days before the final, the participants had the opportunity to discuss their ideas with various expert mentors in the field of information technology, urban mobility, green transition and smart technologies.

On the final day, the teams were judged by an expert jury with representatives of the Development Association of Sofia, DXC Technology, Sofia Municipality, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, the Center for Urban Mobility, the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria and the Regional Hub of the European Institute of Technologies “KIK Klimat”. The dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Assoc. Dr. Atanas Georgiev, was also part of the jury.

They evaluated the projects based on the following criteria:
          • feasibility of the project;
          • content;
          • technical implementation;
          • presentation and defense.

Team DayOff won the first place in the hackathon with their idea “ParkIt”, which uses trained artificial intelligence to make parking easier in real time by calculating parking spaces using already installed CGM cameras on the streets. The second place was awarded to G-Force with their idea for a Sofia Commute mobile application for purchasing and recharging tickets and cards for public transport with the ability to integrate with existing municipality and CGM systems. The jury awarded the third place to team 1D with an idea for a platform with interactive maps that reflects the urban experience for pedestrians using public transport to improve the adjacent infrastructure.

The prize fund for the first three teams, which has a total value of BGN 15,000, was provided by DXC Technology. The Audience Award, provided by the Sofia Development Association, awarded through a vote of more than 1,230 people online, went to the student team VEMNS Kinetics, which proposed a kinetic tile prototype that, under pressure, produces electricity by using an electromagnetic generator, and the energy produced can be stored in a battery or used for transport.

The Association for Development of Sofia also gave an incentive award in the amount of BGN 500 to the Chaika app team from Burgas for an application for accessing culture and choosing routes for people with motor disabilities. DXC Technology also provided an incentive prize of BGN 500 to the RANO student team for the InSofia application, a collection of information about the city – services, bicycle routes, places with repairs, traffic jams, which can be submitted by citizens or collected by city institutions. The awards were presented by Doncho Barbalov, Deputy Mayor for Finance and Healthcare of the Metropolitan Municipality, and representatives of DXC Technology.

If you want like to watch the full finale of the hackathon “InnoAirChallenge: Just Green transition and Urban Mobility” and get to know all the projects in detail, you can do it HERE.

The hackathon is part of a series within the INNOAIR project, funded by the European initiative Urban Innovative Actions. Sofia is the first Bulgarian city to be selected and become part of the community of innovative European cities. It is also part of the program of the Regional Hub of the European Institute for Innovation and Technology CIC Climate.

      

      

      

 

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