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.


INNOAIR offers you a leap into the future

“INNOAIR is a look into the future, refracted through the prism of current traffic and air pollution problems. The pursuit for cleaner air forms a strong collaboration between scientists, businesses and citizens and has led to ambitious and unprecedented public transport services that need to be tested. We are pleased to be preparing to provide cleaner air in our city through the introduction of on-demand green public transport in combination with green corridors and low-emission zones.” said Deputy Mayor Kristian Krastev during the first edition of the forum Green Transition - Solutions and Challenges for Bulgaria in the panel Smart Mobility and Traffic.

According to him, the intelligent bus is the one that adapts routes and boarding schedules for passengers and improves their experience. Transport that operates in accordance with consumer demand. The INNOAIR project will offer just that - the on-demand green public transport service - a leap into the future. The route along which the electric buses will run will be determined by the requests of the citizens submitted through a mobile application. The green public transport will be available in certain neighborhoods and will transport passengers to the nearest rail stop - metro station or tram stop.

In addition, INNOAIR works a great deal with artificial intelligence. During the project in several districts of Sofia, an analysis of schedules and routes of land transport will be performed. Based on an algorithm that estimates the maximum effect of the transport service (number of passengers, points of interest, vehicle load, potential new trips, etc.), the software will propose changes to the existing lines of the already operating public transport. To power the algorithm, all available data from the analytical system for counting passengers in vehicles, from land transport to the ticket system and the timetable system will be used.

You can learn more about the event Green Transition - Solutions and Challenges for Bulgaria here:

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


Prototypes of vertical gardens were presented today by students at SofiaLab

"Initiatives that make people see everyday objects around them and give them new functions are extremely valuable. The added value of this project was to turn these objects into gardens. Urban farming is becoming more and more relevant today and helps us close the cycle of cooking-eating-production."- said Sava Kislyakov, one of the mentors of the teams that created vertical gardens.

4 prototypes of vertical gardens were presented today by students from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy at SofiaLab. The teams that developed the projects for vertical gardens included students, entrepreneurs, experts in gardening and agriculture, designers, agro-environmentalists and marketing specialists.

"Do it yourself - a set for a vertical garden" is a Sofia Development Association, Green Sofia and Applied Research and Communications Fund initiative, and the goal is to promote urban farming. The event, on October 18, was held in a hybrid - on-site, in accordance with all anti-epidemic measures, and online, through a platform for virtual meetings. The total number of participants exceeds 30 people.

The authors of the projects - students from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy Denitsa Georgieva, Alexander Sokolov, Diana Gornishka and Amina Ramez, presented the prototypes. All four versions were approved, with great interest in the “A-Ladder” and “Wooden Container with Mesh Wall” prototypes. Both are free-standing and suitable for both interior and outdoor installation, made entirely of natural materials. Another prototype also uses the construction of the ladder, but in a variant for smaller spaces. An accessible model made from recycled bottles has also been developed.

All four prototypes will be piloted in several specially selected locations in the city - Sofia Tech Park AD, a Sofia Municipality building, the building of the Central Cooperative Union, in SofiaLab of Sofia Development Association, as well as in the common areas of a residential building.

After testing the developed prototypes in terms of not only sustainability and functionality, but also the effect on the working environment, it is planned to develop a "Do it yourself vertical garden" guide within the project. With it, anyone can easily and quickly make their own vertical garden from easily available materials on the market, as well as to find out what is suitable to grow in it by the season.

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




Sofia Development Association took part in a peer to peer learning session and expert mission of AGORA project

On October 12th, 2021 SDA and Sofia Municipality exchanged experience with partners from Neckar-Alb Region, Prague and Slavonski Brod from their common cluster Unused/ underused areas as public spaces’ potential.

Sofia shared its experience from the Idiation design seminar about open air stages, held on 28th of September. SDA’s team shared the interactive methods used to keep the audience and the stakeholders engaged. Furthermore, the team updated the partners about the progress of the pilot project Toplocentralata and mentioned the main points on which the Urban Regeneration Agenda of Sofia will focus.
The following discussion focused on ways to turn underused public spaces, open and built, into places offering social, educational and / or cultural services spaces. The social dimension of this process was also taken into consideration. The partners suggested that this scope could be achieved through improving the relationship with the existing communities. The cities agreed that the identity of a space could emerge by implementing a participatory management model and enhancing cultural activities.

On October 18th Sofia Development Association took advantage of the possibility to hear the experience of the partners from thematic cluster Recovery and economic valorisation of large-scale post-industrial heritage in private or public property. On November 2nd it will be held another peer to peer learning session of the thematic cluster Matchmaking between vacant commercial / business spaces in the city and potential users.

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



“DIY – vertical garden set” – vertical gardens as part of urban farming

What are vertical gardens? Vertical gardens are preferred by amateur gardeners and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor gardens. In addition, they are great for urban farming because they are practical and diverse. They bring life to spaces, create community and help the busy city person to connect with nature and relax.

To promote urban farming, Sofia Development Association, Sofia Green and Applied Research and Communications Fund are organizing design seminars “DIY - vertical garden set”. The seminars are part of the pilot activities of the CityZen project, which promotes urban farming as a successful driving force for economic and social transformation by introducing the concept to policy makers.

The design seminars are held in two stages - on October 11, 30 participants learned the basics of design thinking, shared their experience with gardening and outlined the framework of necessary actions that would help promote urban farming in Sofia. The teams consist of students, entrepreneurs, vertical gardening experts, designers, agri-environmentalists, and marketing specialists. After exchanging ideas and experiences, the participants were divided into 4 groups and embarked on a creative process of making small models of vertical gardens, which later turned into prototypes. Creating the models was very colorful and fun, but also useful for the next stage.

The teams have one week to develop the four models into real products - vertical gardens, to be presented during the second stage of the seminars, which will be held on Monday, September 18. Students from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy took a leading role in this process.

After the presentation of the prototypes by the students on Monday, the participants will choose the most suitable among them for multiplication. The prototypes will be piloted in four specially selected places in the city - Sofia Tech Park AD, a Sofia Municipality building, an office building, as well as in a residential building.

After testing the developed prototypes from the point of view of sustainability and continuity, it is planned as part of the project to develop an instruction that will allow anyone to make their own vertical garden effortlessly and quickly from easily available materials on the market.

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



SDA Joins EIT Urban Mobility – IH East


In the beginning of October, SDA became a member of the Innovation Hub East, an initiative of EIT Urban Mobility. With this membership Sofia has an opportunity to continue working on innovative actions, research and technological solutions for urban mobility and to engage in strategic projects, part of the EITUM portfolio. Following the successful implementation of the CO-APS project in 2020, we look forward to new meaningful collaborations with leading organizations and experts from the IH East and the EIT Urban Mobility community.




Located at 111 Hristo Botev blvd., the first in Bulgaria joint Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals opened its doors for clients and friends. The bureau is designed to be a vital entry point for foreigners and migrants looking to access accurate information on specialized services and referrals to service providers in heath, legal and protection matters. It offers services in several languages.

Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, the Bulgarian Red Cross, Vazrazhdane Markets, with the support of UNHCR and over 13 NGOs have joined efforts, resources and expertise to provide better integrated services for foreigners.

The program with upcoming activities in October could be found in Bulgarian HERE.

You may see the program for October in English HERE.


You may see the program for October in French HERE.

You may see the program for October in Arabic HERE.

You may see the program for October in Farsi HERE.

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.


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