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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AGORA partnership meeting in Sofia

After over a year of travel restrictions, now AGORA project is up to speed with the physical meetings. Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality hosted the second physical meeting, the meeting of the Steering Committee and a transnational capacity building seminar in the Bulgarian capital on May 11 and 12, 2022. The partners from Chisinau, Moldova, Cluj-Napoca in Romania, Koprivnitsa in Croatia, Kranj in Slovania, Neckar-Alb Region in Germany, Prague, Czech Republic, Slavonski Brod in Croatia, Szarvas in Hungary and Zenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina convened physically and online.

The consortium meeting was filled with intense partner exchange, mutual learning about diverse co-creation processes, different cities Regeneration Agendas, their pilot renovation projects and initiatives to activate the stakeholders. More than a meeting, the partners visited Toplocentrala – the Sofia pilot project, met with the team there and saw the river that needs to be integrated into the usable area.

The transnational capacity building workshop was also joined by representatives of other Bulgarian municipalities, stakeholders and other INTERREG Danube projects in the area of culture and urban regeneration. Participants worked together on the pillars of the AGORA capacity building toolkit that will be developed later in the project, varying from financial and business models to stakeholder engagement, from fair spatial planning to sustainability.

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

 

          

       

      

            

LANDSCAPING FOR CLEANER AIR – Finals of INNOAIR student competition with the University of Forestry

The students from University of Forestry answered the question "How can proper landscaping improve the urban environment and air quality?"

The project that took the first award was presented with the idea of ​​highlighting a good example. Residents of the selected area (around Todor Kableshkov Bldv.) have already created a colorful space that effectively purifies the air and contributes to both the natural ecosystem and the beautiful urban environment. To show that they embrace their initiative, second-year students Simona Novoselska and Merlin Nezhdet have chosen for their project the place next to their flower bed, which will now double its size. All the plants that the students have selected are very easy to maintain and extremely effective. We hope that the good example will be passed on!

The second award took a project that includes flowers as well as shrubs and trees. It was developed by Alexander Georgiev and consists of plants that are drought-tolerant, bloom from early spring to late autumn and have a long-lasting decorative effect.

Third award went to the project, which looked into the Chinese philosophy of "Yin and Yang". With its geometric shape, the author sent a clear message about the need for ecological balance. The project was created and presented by Elis Basrieva.

The decision on which of the projects to receive funding was made by a competent jury represented by experts from Sofia Municipality and the University of Forestry: Hristo Valchanov, Deputy Mayor of Triaditsa District; Iva Valkova, Ch. expert, Transport Activity Department; arch. Katerina Kanevcheva, Ch. expert, Green Systems Directorate, and Assoc. Prof. Svetlana Anisimova, lecturer in Decorative Dendrology and Floriculture, LTU.

The creativity of the students extends widely, so the decision was difficult. Slavi Dichev's project includes vegetation that serves as a sound insulator. Penka Rudeva's proposal was in the form of the world-renowned Bulgarian embroidery, and Maria Todorova recreated the house of Todor Alexandrov, whose name is the boulevard on which the winning project will be implemented.

In the gallery below you can get acquainted with some of the projects and participants.

            

      

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

Еmployment Opportunities for Ukrainian Refugees

On May 11, 2022 the Labor Office Directorate of Vazrazhdane District organized a Job Search Fair. Employers from various economic sectors took part in the event. The event was an opportunity for Ukrainian citizen to meet with employers, to learn about employment procedures in Bulgaria, and to meet specialists who can guide them through the job search process. 

The fair was organized by the national Employment Agency. SDA and The Bureau for Information and Services for Third-Country Nationals supported the event by providing interpretation from Bulgarian into Ukrainian and Russian.

SDA will continue to support the process of labor market integration of migrants and refugees in Sofia Municipality. For further information you can contact us or the Bureau for Information and Services for Third-Country Nationals at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow SDA’s website to learn more about similar initiatives.

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.

           

 

   

  

LEARN MORE ABOUT INNOAIR – INFODAY WILL BE HELD ON MAY 17

INNOAIR aims to improve the air quality in the capital through innovative, technological solutions as well as through the involvement of the public in the cause.

If you want to learn more about the activities through which the INNOAIR project partners achieve this goal, you can join the Information Day of the project, which will be held on May 17 (Tuesday) from 10:00 on-site at SofiaLab (1 Serdika Str., 3rd floor) and online at ZOOM (https://us06web.zoom.us/j/86974603820?pwd=eDNxeFQrUm9BZ09OTldjSVo2NG92QT09). You can watch the event live on Facebook - https://fb.me/e/1v5ErPmED.

During the event, each of the partners (Sofia Municipality, Sofia University, Plovdiv University, Sofia Development Association, Sofia Urban Mobility Centre, National Association of Municipalities in Republic of Bulgaria, Modeshift and the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology) will present their previous and upcoming activities - studies, scenarios, technical solutions and services for citizens.

The event is public and open to anyone interested in the achievements and future tasks of the project. We invite you to take part and ask your questions!

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

FINALS OF THE STUDENT COMPETITIONS "FOR SUSTAINABLE AND GREEN FUTURE" UNDER THE INNOAIR PROJECT

Over 50 students from UFT Plovdiv and VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar" participated in the competition "For Sustainable and Green Future", organized by the Sofia Development Association within the INNOAIR project, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative.

The students from the University of Food Technology - Plovdiv worked on creating a calculator that calculates the economic benefits of active mobility, and those from Varna Free University "Chernorizets Hrabar" developed calculators that calculate health benefits.

The purpose of developing calculators for the economic and health benefits of active transport is to increase people's motivation to use an active mode of transport, thus improving air quality, to support decision-making in this direction in urban areas and to allow for secondary use of data.

All teams presented ideas for calculators based on research and analysis that can be implemented and used by any citizen.

Jury of experts in the field consisting of Eng. Dimitar Petrov, Director of the Traffic Management and Analysis Directorate, Sofia Municipality, Rumyana Galabova and Simona Yoncheva, Chief Experts, Air Department, Sofia Municipality, Prof. Dr. Valentina Nikolova -Alexieva, Dean of the Faculty of Economics of UFT, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Borislav Milenkov, Department of Computer Systems and Technologies, UFT, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Veselina Spasova, Head of the Master's Program "Software Engineering and Management", VFU "Chernorizets" Hrabar and Sevdalina Voynova, INNOAIR project coordinator, faced the difficult task of choosing the two best prototypes to receive funding for implementation.

Get acquainted with some of the ideas of the students from UFT Plovdiv:

The UFT Students team won first place with its idea for a calculator that calculates the economic benefits of active transport, both individually and collectively. The calculator has an interesting visualization and good visibility of the economic benefits. The way the calculator works allows you to work in real time with data and a high level of prototyping. In addition, it can calculate the payback time of an investment for active transport. The students Dimitrina Atanasova, Gloria Bikovska, Antoaneta Tsanova, Pamela Zlatanova, Ivan Pavlov and Iliya Yordanov worked on the creation of the calculator.

"We are very happy that we had the opportunity to participate in such large international project. The topic of green economy and sustainable development is extremely relevant, so we put a lot of desire and enthusiasm in the teamwork to develop a calculator for the economic benefits of active transport. "Said Ivan Pavlov, 4th year student, specialization -Plovdiv.

The EcoFriends team came in second and presented a concept for a calculator that calculates the benefits of using an electric scooter over the use of a diesel car, as their study shows that the most commonly used cars are diesel. Their prototype can easily be expanded with more features besides scooters, such as public transport. Participants in the team are Valentina Karanacheva, Stanislava Yocheva, Yanitsa Dimitrova, Yordan Ananiev, Tsvetan Hashev and Teodor Todorinov.

The Mission-Emission team came in third and presented a calculator that calculates the harm from using different types of motor vehicles, the alternatives that can be used for the user-defined route, as well as the possible positive impact on the environment if the alternative mode of movement is used. Participants in the team are Maria Alexandrova, Maria Bruncheva, Mimi Maneva, Vladislav Borisov, Sevda Husseinova, Konstantin Yotov, Rosen Gospodinov, Iva Rancheva and Vasil Totev.

The project manager of UFT Plovdiv is Assoc. Prof. Markovska from the Department of Economics, Entrepreneurship and Management.

"I am convinced that today's forum will contribute to promoting the mission of the INNOAIR project and will improve the skills of all participants in the field of green innovation and entrepreneurship. The competition generates really working ideas that can become part of good practices and European measures to ensure a sustainable future," said Prof. Dr. Valentina Nikolova-Aleksieva, Dean of the Faculty of Economics at UFT-Plovdiv.

The students from VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar" presented no less interesting ideas:

The Steppy team, consisting of international students from England and India, won the jury and 1st place with an idea for an application that focuses on pedestrians. The functionalities of the application include receiving points for walking distance, on a bicycle or public transport, and through them various prizes and discounts. Steppy works similarly to SofiaCoin application (available for iOS and Android). However, in addition to the incentives for active movement, Steppy offers a weather forecast, public transport schedule, and a game element with sightseeing. The team consists of participants from England, Bulgaria and India - Christopher Braskov, Dimitar Popov and Adil Rehman.

The team ended its presentation with a quote from Plato - "Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it."

CycleBuddy is the team that developed an application that calculates a large set of cycling statistics. They were ranked 2nd by the jury. The developers have already selected programming languages for different operating systems and have clarified how to collect many different data such as map route, speed, distance, altitude and other performance statistics. The participants in the team are Erhan Kalinov, Irena Ilieva and Kalin Todorov.

The Sustainable and Green Future team, which also placed 2nd, presented a project based on a survey of 71 potential users. The application again aims to challenge citizens to get out of their personal cars by allowing them to connect to other smart devices, view the nearest sports fields, statistics, routes, achievements and challenges, as well as voice notifications. The participants in the team are Milena Kozhuharova and Kristian Ivanov.

"The health benefits of alternative modes of transport" was the team that ranked 3rd. They presented an application that visualizes the benefits of active mobility at the individual, group and national levels. In addition to speed, location, acceleration, calories burned and emissions saved, the application also shows a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Participants in the team are Tsvetomir Salutski and Georgi Georgiev.

The project manager of VFU "Chernorizets Hrabar" is Assoc. Prof. Spasova, head of the master's program "Software Engineering and Management".

You can watch a recording of the presentation of the projects HERE, as well as the announcement of the awarded teams HERE.

We wish success to the first place teams "UFT Students" and "Steppy" in the realization of their ideas!

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

 

      

      

      

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

The Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals in Sofia presents to your attention the Program with activities for the month of May. 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.

The program and the services provided by the Bureau are in several languages:

You can find the program for May in Bulgarian HERE.
You can find the program for May in Ukrainian HERE.
You can find the program for May in English HERE.
You can find the program for May in French HERE.
You can find the program for May in Russian HERE.
You can find the program for May in Arabic HERE.
You can find the program for May in Farsi HERE.

https://infobureau.bcrm-bg.org/en

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.

The bureau is the result of the combined efforts, resources and expertise of the Sofia Municipality, the Sofia Development Association, the Bulgarian Red Cross and Vazrazhdane Markets, UNHCR and over 13 NGOs. It gives foreigners and migrants access to information on specialized services, as well as guidance for providers of protection, health and legal issues.

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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