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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“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.

 

 

OCTOBER CALENDAR WITH ACTIVITIES IN THE BUREAU OF INFORMATION AND SERVICES FOR THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS

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.

     

Putting the strategy into action – transnational synergies


“Synergies don’t happen on their own, they need preparation and efforts” was the one of the main messages during the interactive workshop led by Sevdalina Voynova, Sofia Development Association project team, during the Finance4Social Change project Transnational Policy Learning Seminar on 29 September 2021.

Policy makers, impact investors, social entrepreneurs and project partners discussed the dimensions of the transnational synergies , obstacles, recommendations how to proceed further to project level, Programme level and Danube level.

The findings from the discussion will be incorporated in the Report on the Transnational synergies in the area of social investment in the Danube region.

 

 

 

 

      

 

Agora ideation design seminar – open-air stages for culture

"Most of the open-air stages in Sofia were made in the 50's and 60's and constitute a platform from which to speak to the masses. They do not allow for other ways of communication between audiences and artists, and the art forms have changed a lot since then.”

"It's not enough to make a good-looking stage if you leave it to itself. Without governance and a meaningful program, it is doomed to ruin. "

These are some of the opinions of the participants who took part in the interactive seminar of AGORA project with a focus on open-air stages for culture. It took place in two parts on September 28. The event brought together over 30 participants from local government, the independent cultural sector, academia and business.

The first part of the seminar was dedicated to conducting a PHOTOVOICE in the form of organized walks in predetermined open-air stages for culture in the capital. Participants visited the sites and documented their current condition through digital photos. The purpose of PHOTOVOICE was to identify the places that are in urgent need of improvement and those that can be used as a good example.

During the main part of the seminar, good examples of open-air stages from other parts of Europe and the world were presented. All participants shared their impressions of the previously visited sites by completing an interactive online survey in real time and suggested various measures to improve them during a lively discussion.

According to the participants, among the most important factors for improving the functionality of the stages are the anticipation of the ways of their use in the near future, their good integration into the local setting and the easy and clear conditions for their usage. An interesting proposal for a balance between a quality art program and the involvement of the local community was the holding of artist residences in the respective neighborhood. In addition, participants identified temporary and movable stages as a good alternative to additional construction and reached a consensus that involving student communities in various internships and creative developments would be among the effective approaches to the improvement of spaces.

This seminar is the first of three seminars, the results of which will lead to the development of an action plan for the renovation of cultural spaces.

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

You can learn more about the project and the upcoming activities at http://www.interreg-danube.eu/approved-projects/agora and https://www.facebook.com/InterregAGORA

 

    

    

 

Innovative youth projects in SofiaLab

Sofia Development Association took another small step towards green policies, sustainable development and digitalization by supporting the activities of two projects of the "Visionary Academy" - a format organized by Sofia Municipality and the Directorate of Sports and Youth Activities.

On September 25, 2021, with the support of Sofia Development Association, the first event of the youth organizations VODORASLO and Stolichna H2O, which are finalists in the first season of "Visionary academy", category "Ecology and Urban Environment", took place in SofiaLab . The team of the two projects consists of four young people, united by the desire to take a step towards a change in the quality of life of society.

The VODORASLO project focuses on indoor air quality through a DIY microalgae bioreactor kit. The aim is to democratize the device, which is reduced to an existential minimum, so that it is accessible to as many people as possible. An ocean in a jar.

The team presented VODORASLO, and the participants assembled 15 bioreactors at SofiaLab. Together, they discussed many issues related to air quality, plastic consumption, Sofia’s water resources, habits and how to have a lower carbon footprint.

VODORASLO distributed a total of 75 bioreactors to 25 high schools. Together with the help of the Sports and Youth Activities Directorate, they have been piloted in classrooms, with demonstrations of device assembly and maintenance being held in some classrooms.

The Stolichna H2O project reminds of the rich mineral resources in Sofia and in particular the fountains in the city. At the event, the digital map in the capital was updated through a volunteer action, which was held in person and online, as each volunteer noted in an online form the condition of the fountains in the areas for which there is no information.

The project also aims to use fewer plastic bottles by building a network of shops and commercial establishments that would pour water to visitors free of charge. The places where this can happen will be marked with a special Stolichna H2O sticker. The official website of the project will be operational by the end of October: www.stolichnah2o.com, where you can find the digital map with the fountains in Sofia, a useful blog with articles on environmental issues, as well as interviews with experts. By combining efforts with the Fountains of Bulgaria and Zero Waste, the project aims to lower consumption of plastic.

The next steps of the project are aimed at expanding the network of enterprises, the ability to report different types of damages, as well as easier dialogue between citizens and regional municipal administrations.

The VODORASLO team will work on a second prototype by the end of 2021, based on feedback from all children, teachers, experts and project participants, while anticipating to make a larger event in spring of 2022, together with STOLICHA H2O, during which to present Bioreactor 2.0, a new volunteer action, discussion with experts in front of a wide audience and interesting games related to ecology.

Sofia Development Association will continue to support the activities of both projects.

      

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