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.



The Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals in Sofia presents to your attention the Program with activities for the month of November. The desk is located at 111 Hristo Botev Street and is open from 10:00 to 17:30. The program and the services provided are in several languages.

You can find the program for November in Bulgarian HERE.

You can find the program for November in English HERE.

You can find the program for November in French HERE.

You can find the program for November in Arabic HERE.

You can find the program for November in Farsi HERE.

During October, more than 90 foreign nationals received services from the Bureau. Legal advice is most often sought, but the services used are diverse: from accompanying translation at institutions to employment certificates, from registering with a GP to receiving anti-covid vaccines, receiving medicine, textbooks and food.

The Bureau is the result of the combined efforts, resources and expertise of Sofia Municipality, Sofia Development Association, the Bulgarian Red Cross, “Vazrazhdane” Markets, UNHCR and over 13 NGOs.

We hope that in November even more foreigners will benefit from the facilities offered, and more partner organizations will join the initiative.

The Bureau for Information and Services for third country national is established under the #CONNECTION project and is 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.


SDA Shares Good Practices for Integration of Third Country Nationals

The annual meeting organized by UNHCR Bulgaria to present the 2021 participatory study on age, gender and diversity of refugees was held on 26 and 27 October 2021 in Pravets. SDA was invited to share good practices for cooperation with Sofia Municipality in the panel dedicated to the role of local governments for integration. The successful collaboration model has resulted in the establishment of the Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals which was officially opened in September 2021. 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. This is the first such service in the municipality (and the country), which sets an example for other municipalities on how to coordinate their interaction with the non-governmental sector and other local stakeholders in support of the integration of foreign nationals.


Sustainable energy and sustainable transport - INNOAIR on its way to zero-emission vehicles

As part of the European Sustainable Energy Week #EUSEW2021, INNOAIR presented its approach and achievements at an international expert meeting on October 25, 2021.

Ensuring affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy is one of European Union's main priorities. In connection with the recommendation of the European Commission to stop the sale and production of vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, European countries apply various measures and incentives to switch to zero-emission vehicles. INNOAIR is also working hard to promote the use of environmentally friendly modes of transport by striving to offer the most convenient alternatives to the opinion of citizens.

For this reason, the INNOAIR team was among those invited to participate in an expert meeting organized by the Central and Eastern European Network of British Embassies and the British Office for Zero Emission Vehicles. The meeting was part of the events leading up to the UN International Climate Conference COP26.

On October 25, Sofia Municipality shared the policies it pursues in the direction of sustainable mobility, focusing on the INNOAIR project, which has the opportunity to use an innovative and comprehensive approach to stimulate sustainable mobility in the city, which covers not only emissions-free buses, but also on demand transport services.

Among those present at the online seminar were policy makers from Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. All of them shared their experience up to this point and talked about the best practices so far and the lessons learned from the implementation of various policies and measures on the road to zero-emission vehicles.

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



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).



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