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.


A Look into the Future – INNOAIR and Innovative Public Transport

On January 14, 2021 an exhibition of vehicles was held on the occasion of the 120th anniversary of public transport in Sofia. Along with the stories about the transport from the past, the audience also got acquainted with the innovations planned for the future. The Deputy Mayor for Transport of Sofia Municipality Kristian Krastev introduced the attendees with the INNOAIR project and the activities that will be carried out within its implementation.

The most impressive among the activities is the provision of the service for an environmentally friendly public transport "on request". Instead of driving on pre-defined routes, the new e-buses will create route map based on citizen demand submitted via mobile application. The app will leverage machine learning and advanced data analytics to create the most efficient path for each ride, collecting as much passengers as possible.

This urban transport service will be tested for the first time in Europe and will be implemented together with a wide range of initiatives: low emission zones, green corridors, congestion charge, promotion of active mobility. This coordinated effort of the city administration, scientists, business and citizens will form a holistic approach to reducing air pollution and will change the way our public transport looks today.

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


European and global experience with on-demand transport, low emission zonez and congestion charges

The INNOAIR team has produced an innovative research paper and it is pleased to share it with the public. The Best practice analysis on common global initiatives is now published and can be downloaded here. The analysis evaluates on-demand transportation initiatives and “transport as a service” approach in Europe and on a global scale to provide project partners and the general public with guidance on lessons learned and help them avoid mistakes during the project implementation.

This document, prepared by the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria (NAMRB), contains a review of the trends in mobility solutions, related to the main innovation of INNOAIR, namely on-demand transport (with electric minibuses) combined with “mobility as a service” like technologies, low emission zones and congestion charging model. The analysis provides guidance for tested solutions, the challenges they address, main findings and results. That way interested parties could avoid past mistakes and use the information provided for further guidance and enhancement of the INNOAIR model.

The analysis starts by giving an overview of the general trends related to the main innovation of INNOAIR and continues by providing concrete examples of already established such innovations mainly in cities in Europe and around the world. The document ends by giving the main findings and lessons learned based on the already processed information in the previous sections.

For more information on INNOAIR’s outputs, including the recent publication of the Guidebook on air pollution interdependencies for various stakeholders, please check the project website

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


The INNOAIR team is pleased to announce that the Guidebook on air pollution interdependencies for various stakeholders is now published. You can download the guidebook here.

The guidebook, prepared by the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) and Sofia Development Association, is a free tool for policy, research, education, industry and environmental bodies to understand the processes leading to undesired high levels of pollution in urban areas. The document tries, in an understandable way, to summarize what factors influence the levels of various pollutants in the atmosphere and how their adverse influence can be eliminated or limited in order to improve air quality in cities in a short- and long-term time horizon.

The guidebook starts by giving a general overview of what the meteorological conditions in urban areas can be, what the major air pollutants in the air are, the air quality standards by the European Union and World Health Organization (WHO) and how air pollution can impact the human health, ecosystems and biodiversity, climate change and cultural heritage. This general information provides the reader with the background information on the subject needed to better understand the case of Sofia. This sets up perfectly for the next section, which explains the monitoring of air pollution in Sofia.

An important part of the guidebook is the air quality management strategies and good practices, which outlines the best strategies and practices that can be seen around the globe. The guidebook finishes off with an overview of the specific interdependencies.

For more information on INNOAIR’s outputs, including the recent publication of the Multi-stakeholder dialogue on air pollution interdependencies, please check the project website

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


The InnoBridge project partners had their final project meeting on December 18, 2020. After 3 years of mutual learning and nearly 2 years of Action plan implementation to improve their policies and practices to support SME competitiveness and innovation, the partners from 8 European regions, among whom Sofia through SDA, met virtually to prepare for the project closure, to assess its scope and deliverables, to analyze project success and identify stories to be told and disseminated.

SDA took part in the project with the Sofia Public-private Fund for Innovations as a local instrument for innovation support. In the framework of the project a number of good practices from other regions influenced the programming, the management and the focus of the Fund. Collectively, over one million euro have been influenced so far, varying from financial support to entrepreneurs to mentoring, from training to showcasing, from challenges to SofiaLab refurbishment. The InnoBridge Sofia team is proud that our Fund has been recognized as a good European practice and shared with all other regions for replication and scaling up.

Project partners discussed areas of common interest for future exchange and learning in the new multi-annual framework period. These areas include the development of regional RIS3 strategies for the next period, the European Green deal, digital transition, social economy, innovation in general.

InnoBridge is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.



Sofia Development Association is happy to announce that the video from the AGORA city walk is already published.

As part of its work on Thematic cluster 3 of AGORA project: “Evaluation and analysis of unused public spaces, open and closed, as centers for social, educational and / or cultural services”, SDA presents the Heating plant as a pilot project for urban development.

All stakeholders who took part in the walk got acquainted with the plan for reconstruction of the building of the former Heating plant of the National Palace of Culture and its transformation into a center for art and culture “Toplocentralata”. The aim of the “Toplocentralata” project, which is being implemented thanks to the Sofia Municipality, is to create a place for independent artists to perform in Bulgaria and to prove that abandoned industrial spaces in the urban environment have the potential for new life.

If you would like to learn more about the “Toplocentralata” and AGORA projects, you can watch the video HERE.

The AGORA project is implemented under the INTERREG Danube program and is co-financed by the European Union funds (ERDF, IPA II).


Let’s Transform Today for a Better Tomorrow!

Let’s Transform Today for a Better Tomorrow!

This was the key message in the presentations and discussions during the final international conference of the TRANSFORM project, organized online on 16 December 2020 by Sofia Development Association and the project partners. Guests and participants in the event discussed opportunities how to use new technologies for energy retrofits and the renovation of homes and buildings. In the focus were also the results of the pilot phase in Sofia, which included a digital transformation of 10 homes in the city. The model proposed by the TRANSFORM project relies on the Internet of Things, digital simulations and smart energy services, and promises significant cost reductions and savings for households and homeowners.

For more information about the project and how to join in, please follow the website of SDA and the project website,

Watch here the TRANSFORM video.

The TRANSFORM project is funded by EIT Climate-KIC.




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