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.


Online workshop on “Atmospheric pollution modeling”

Polluted air in urban areas is a global problem. Both short- and long-term exposure to polluted air of people, especially from vulnerable groups such as children and adults, can cause irritation, inflammation, allergies and lead to reduced lung function, respiratory infections, asthma and more.

Microscopic particles can potentially enter the bloodstream and cause serious damage to human health. Polluted air also affects natural ecosystems and biodiversity, buildings and cultural heritage, climate and many other fields.

For this reason, the INNOAIR project is working to improve air quality by implementing various measures. In addition to the forthcoming introduction of green public transport on demand, low-emission areas, green corridors and congestion charges, the measures are also oriented towards insuring citizens to be well informed.

On September 24, within the INNOAIR project, the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (NIMH) organized a seminar, addressed to number of issues related to the measurements, modeling and forecasting of concentrations of various air pollutants. The event aroused the interest of over 40 participants from various fields of activity. NIMH lecturers answered many questions and provoked a lively discussion.

The participants got acquainted with the main factors playing role in the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere, learned why we need numerical models to study and predict them, as well as what types of models are used in our country and around the world, and what their main components are.

It was interesting for the participants to understand that domestic heating, traffic and industrial enterprises in and around the city are the main groups of emission sources in urban areas. They learned more about the peculiarities of the diffusion of pollutants in built-up areas in comparison to diffusion over a flat area, as well as why some models work in real time but others are "triggered" only for specific tasks and cases.

The concept of “Chemical Weather” was also discussed - what it means, how and for what terms it is forecasted. Information about the latter can be found on the NIMH website at the following links: for the regions of Europe, the Balkan Peninsula and Bulgaria, and for Bulgaria, Sofia region and Sofia city. In addition, the participants got acquainted with the system developed and maintained by NIMH for monitoring the spread of radioactive cloud from an accident in one of the 36 nuclear power plants across Europe

It was also explained what is an air quality management system, how it works and what it gives, as well as the similarities and differences between the air quality management system and the air quality improvement program.

The principles underlying the system for fine dust particles pollution forecasting in Sofia Municipality, what statistical approaches and methods were used in its realization, were presented to the participants.

Another topic for discussions was the impact of buildings and other terrestrial facilities on the spread of pollutants and why one and the same diffusion model cannot be applied directly to urban environments and larger domains.

Participants received information about the benefits of avant-garde models and their application in air pollution modeling in urban environments, as well as how the results of such models are tested and interpreted.

Finally, the participants learned about the operational models of European and world centers with information on air pollution and got idea on where they could see graphically represented various parameters and data.

If you are interested in the above topics, but you have not been able to participate in the event, we provide the opportunity to view all the presentations HERE:


- СИСТЕМА ЗА УПРАВЛЕНИЕ НА КАЧЕСТВОТО НА АТМОСФЕРНИЯ ВЪЗДУХ (КАВ) В ГРАД ПЛОВДИВ, Димитър Атанасов, Национален институт по метеорология и хидрология

- МОДЕЛИРАНЕ НА АТМОСФЕРНО ЗАМЪРСЯВАНЕ В ГРАДСКА СРЕДА, Димитър Атанасов, Национален институт по метеорология и хидрология





Air pollution is a complex problem that requires in-depth and multilateral research, as well as the joint efforts of various groups of experts, politicians, businessmen and ordinary people. Appropriate measures and policies are needed to address urban air quality issues, and citizens’ participation at all levels of the process is strongly recommended. In this regard, the INNOAIR team engages all stakeholders in decision-making to address the problem and implement the necessary measures to achieve measurable results.

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


INNOAIR contributes to the topic of "Innovation and Digitization" of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

What do INNOAIR and the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR) have in common?

The EU strategy for the Danube region consists of 12 priority areas, one of which is mobility, but among them are also capacity building, knowledge and more. However, innovation and digitization are defined as an integral part of the development of all areas. The experience of the innovative INNOAIR project shows that improving mobility would not be possible without the use of digital data, but also that other important factors should not be overlooked. Like, for example, the positive public attitude, which is achieved through good information, as well as the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders.

A conference on "Innovation and Digitization" was held on 22 September, organized by the Slovak EUSDR, which brought together over 170 experts from the public and private sectors. Prof. Stanimir Kabaivanov from the Plovdiv University presented the INNOAIR project as an example of a project that turns Sofia into a smart city. He focused not only on the innovation and high-tech work with huge data sets and artificial intelligence, but also on the lessons learned so far from the overall work.

During the discussion, experts confirmed that they would take into account Sofia's recommendations for greater flexibility in measuring the innovation index presented in the European Innovation Scoreboard. They also said that they were aware of the need for an increasingly in-depth exchange of knowledge and experience, especially negative ones, in order to avoid repeating mistakes already made. The holistic approach used by the INNOAIR team was identified as key to achieving a sustainable ecosystem.

You can learn more about the event HERE. A detailed program of the conference can be viewed HERE. The presentation presented by the INNOAIR project is available HERE.

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


INNOAIR – part of the European Mobility Week

"Safe and Healthy with Sustainable Mobility" - the motto of the European Mobility Week, which has been the driver behind many activities under the INNOAIR project since the very beginning of it.

The citizens of Sofia showed great interest in the events that took place as part of the European Mobility Week, and during them also towards the INNOAIR project.

At the beginning of the mobility week, on September 16, a new campaign with a cause started in the capital - "1 car less". The campaign actively promotes the use of public transport, pedestrian and bicycle transport, scooters, and other alternatives to the car. It is held on social networks and is the publication of selfies with the text #team1carless on the day when the publisher does not use a car. Everyone involved in the campaign challenges two more of their friends to do the same. The campaign was launched by the INNOAIR project manager - Kristian Krastev and is successfully attracting more and more celebrities to the green cause.

On the day of Sofia, September 17, INNOAIR took part in an interactive training for road safety, organized jointly with the Pancharevo District, Sofia Municipality and the Council for Child Traffic Safety in Sofia. The kids learned that cycling is good not only for them but also for the environment and that they should not lose their incentive to keep riding when they grow up. And their parents got acquainted with the forthcoming introduction of green public transport, the route of which will be determined by consumer demand, as well as with the system for "loyal green citizens". It will be a mobile application for measuring the distance traveled by pedestrians and cyclists. The most active users will receive appropriate incentives, and the most used bicycle and pedestrian routes will have priority in the investment program of Sofia Municipality.

September 21 was an open doors day at “Stolichen Avtotransport” EAD, where citizens had the opportunity to view an exhibition of vehicles. In addition, on the same day, after pre-registration, those interested also visited the training simulator for engine drivers at the “Zemlyane” depot. Both events gave the opportunity to transport lovers to “peek in the kitchen" of “Stolichen Avtotransport”.

On the last day of the European Mobility Week, September 22, a bike event “Bike Hike” was traditionally held, organized jointly with the Embassy of Denmark in Bulgaria. Before leaving on the designated route, all those present learned more about INNOAIR and the upcoming introduction of the Green Corridors in Sofia. Green corridors will allow citizens to find how to reach a certain point in the center of the city with the least impact on air quality and in the most environmentally friendly way, using green transport. At the same time, a retro tram was running through Sofia, which is an attraction for Sofia’s citizens. While driving in a vehicle from the last century, passengers learned more about the future of public transport in Sofia in the face of green public transport on demand, which INNOAIR will introduce in the capital by the end of 2023.

The European Mobility Week in Sofia is organized by INNOAIR project partners - Sofia Municipality and Sofia Urban Mobility Centre and with the support of 12 other institutions and private companies. You may see the full program HERE.

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


Добре дошли! Welcome! أهلا بك!

On the day of Sofia – September 17th, 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.

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 Bureau is located at 111 Hristo Botev blvd. It offers services in several languages and it 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.







How to map social innovation projects and initiatives was the main focus of SI PLUS second partners meeting

SI PLUS national coordinators and researchers discussed and compared insights and approaches in mapping social innovation projects and initiatives in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.

Project consortium shared the assumption that implementing social innovation as a method and an inclusive concept can help to cope with societal challenges and to foster social cohesion in cooperation with civil society.

The national mappings conducted by Lechner, Reiter & Riesenfelder Social Research OG – Austria, Sofia Development Association, Foundation for the Technical Development of the Industry – Hungary and the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family – Slovakia will enable the design of Competence centre for social innovation in each country.

The second partners meeting was held under the Social Innovation Plus – Competence Centres project, co – financed by European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.

New: Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals in Sofia!

Simple is beautiful! Every city and country have a complex system of access to services, distributed between governance levels, institutions and voluntary service providers, locations, with diverse requirements and processes. Add language barrier, insufficient city orientation of a new comer, and most likely you are facing frustration.

After working with 14 other cities for over a year in an ongoing EU-funded project called CONNECTION (Connecting Cities for Integration Action), Sofia is using an European grant to run an advice bureau that can dramatically improve integration outcomes. To simplify foreigners’ access to services Sofia has joined forces with the Bulgarian Red Cross and UNHCR, and 13 NGOs active in the area of third-country nationals’ integration to set up a Bureau for Information and Services for TCN as a single point of reference, overcoming complexity. Equally important, the Bureau being a joint effort, allows for sharing resources, expertise, responsibilities and vision between a broad variety of stakeholders.

“The idea is simple – to help each citizen of Sofia have easier access to jobs, education, training, cultural orientation. This would help individuals and families and in return will help the city growth and sustainability”, says Malina Edreva, Chairwoman of the Committee on Education, Culture and Diversity in Sofia City Council.

The Bureau for Information and Services will be officially launched on September 17, the Day of Sofia. It is established in the framework of #CONNECTION project.


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



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