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.


Sofia Development Association exchanged experience with 21 cities in a partnership meeting for project #CONNECTION

Representatives of partner organizations from 22 cities took part in a partnership meeting as part of project CONNECTION - "CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration actiON". The meeting was held online on September 13 and 14, 2021 and presented the progress in the implementation of the project activities so far, as well as the forthcoming ones in the implementation of the long-term goals.

Municipal officials and representatives of the non-governmental sector from Antwerp, Athens, Dortmund, Madrid, Tampere, Thessaloniki, Stockholm and other partner cities exchanged their diverse experiences and identified both the best examples and the gaps in the work process. Speakers included representatives of organizations such as UNHCR, the International Organization for Migration, the Refugee Committee, DG REFORM, as well as the EUROCITIES project coordinator and the expert organization that facilitates exchanges between cities, MigrationWork. All of them noted the cooperation between the local authorities, the NGO sector, the business and the citizens as one of the most important approaches for quality integration and provision of services for the benefit of foreign citizens in a holistic way.

Sevdalina Voynova presented the experience of Sofia, noting that the shared practices from other cities were very useful for the work of SDA and shared the concept for the upcoming opening of the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals in the capital.

Significant and fruitful were the sessions in which the partners from the 4 thematic practical communities (developing a strategic approach for integration, participation and interaction; involving the gender community in integration policies; building employment opportunities for migrants and designing a “one stop shop”) were divided and had the opportunity to consider and discuss the concept of creating "How to?" manuals, which will provide other cities with guidelines for effective work on the relevant topics.

During the discussion in community 3, working on overcoming obstacles to the employment of migrants, of which Sofia Development Association is a part, Sofia's experience in developing and implementing the action plan for establishing a Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals was proposed to be described in the “How to?” handbook as an example of building a working model with the support of the project.

The meeting also discussed the most appropriate ways in which partners can continue to communicate the topic of migration and steps for integration among the general public. In addition, the latest changes in the policies of the European Union on migration and integration were presented.



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





Why do we need numerical models for air pollution? What does chemical time mean? How do buildings and other ground facilities affect the spread of pollutants? On what principle is the system for forecasting the potential for pollution with fine dust particles for Sofia Municipality built?

You can learn the answers to these and other questions related to air pollution during the online seminar on "Modeling of air pollution", organized by the National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology as part of the INNOAIR project.

The seminar will be held online on September 24 (Friday) from 14:00 to 16:00.

During the event you will get acquainted with the numerical models for the spread of pollutants in the atmosphere, which are both a basic tool for analysis and forecasting of air quality (AQ) and an integral part of the programs of local administrations aimed at improving AQ. The topic of air pollution will be presented in detail by experts and practitioners in the field, in a language widely available to the public.

You can join the seminar by registering HERE. A detailed program of the event is available at the following link.

We are expecting you!

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

Sofia Development Association supports integration through art

Sofia Development Association has been actively working on the topic of migration and integration for years and the current main projects are "UnionMigrantNet and Cities Together for Integration" (UMN) and "CONNECTION – CONNEcting Cities Towards Integration action”. As a continuation of the efforts made on the topic since 2020, SDA also supports the activities of the “STATUS” project.

In a year we managed to exchange experience not only with the team of the “STATUS” project, but also with the whole community of migrants and locals who attend our joint events. Last year we were together during two movement workshops in May and June, during which Bulgarian citizens and refugees got acquainted with their stories, interacted and recognized each other with different folklore motifs. The SDA team became part of the activity not only as a partner, providing the SofiaLab space for the event, but also as participants in the creative tasks.

During the discussion SDA presented its activities under the UMN and CONNECTION project, sharing in greater detail the trainings related to the inclusion of refugees and third-country nationals in the labor market, conducted under UMN, as well as information about the Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals, which is implemented within CONNECTION project. The audience remained interested in both projects and after an exchange of contacts, horizons for new collaborations opened up.

At the beginning of September, the biggest event of the “STATUS” project took place - a dance performance based on the stories of refugees and migrants. The premiere of the event aroused great interest, and the subsequent discussion was beneficial for both SDA and the audience.

The STATUS project is funded by the Socially Engaged Arts Program of the National Culture Fund and is supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

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




SDA developed Analysis of needs and selecting support services in relation with the establishment of a Citizen advice bureau for third-country nationals in Sofia

In relation with the implementation of the activities in the framework of CONNECTION project and the establishment of a Citizen advice bureau for third-country nationals in Sofia, Sofia Development Association conducted a report “Analysis of needs and selecting support services”. The analysis is based on a desk and field survey and presents analysis of needs the potential users, public and private service providers, as well as contains proposals for appropriate services and a concept for the establishment of the Bureau.

The full version of the analysis could be downloaded HERE.

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

Passenger behavior analysis on the basis of digital data provides an opportunity to improve the quality of transport services

Public transport has long been more than just a service - it is the face of modern cities, and the variety of mobility options is increasingly becoming a field for experimentation and innovation. Behind the visible part of this system, however, there is a significant amount of information, research and rules that allow the transport system to be structured in a way that satisfies its users.

The answer to the questions "Does the public transport currently meet the needs of passengers?" And "How could the available services be improved in the future?" lies in the behavior of the users. In this regard, the INNOAIR project partners from Plovdiv University "Paisii Hilendarski" conducted an "Passenger behavior analysis" towards existing services and opportunities to reflect it in the process of improving urban transport.

“A passenger behavior is the way that passenger think, feel, reason, make judgement and select different products and services, directly related to their travel.” All these components can be taken into account in the analysis of passenger behavior. As structured data can be used in a very large number of models, the analysis of Plovdiv University is based mainly on digital information available from historical databases and time series for the location of transport (GPS information), as well as ticket sales (information about tickets, as well as the preferred type of tickets).

The study combines information from different sources - data on the location of individual vehicles, preliminary schedules, traffic and passenger traffic at stops and time zones, analysis of traffic and congestion to provide integrated measures of the quality of services provided. Tracking these indicators and complying them with the schedules and timetables of urban transport is an opportunity to adapt the transport to the requirements of users and to better meet their needs. An important feature of the approach used is that each of the indicators changes according to the dynamic urban environment. This means that the dynamics of the selected indicators is as important as their absolute values, because it allows to act proactively and potential problems to be solved prematurely.

The passengers behaviour anlaysis shows that they have the greatest need for reliability and security when choosing transport. Uncertainty about the time of arrival, departure and duration of travel on the vehicle causes users to feel anxious.

A specific problem addressed in the study is the modeling of urban transport delays. The use of random processes that allow abrupt changes in the observed values allows to cover the critical cases in which due to unexpected events, such as accidents, incidents or sudden changes in traffic, the discrepancies with the preliminary schedule are drastically increased. The obtained models allow to identify the critical sections on the individual routes and to take preventive measures in cases when the probability of the next big delay increases. In addition, follow-up reactions help to accumulate information and enrich the models and allow for overall optimization of transport schemes.

The results of the analysis will contribute to the decision-making on the introduction of "on-demand green public transportation" and to the testing of the "congestion" charge model - measures that aim to improve air quality and will be implemented within the INNOAIR project.

The full analysis can be found in English here.

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


Since the beginning of this year, SDA and the Applied Research and Communications Fund are implementing the project RRI Leaders - Leveraging Leadership for Responsible Research and Innovation in Territories. Funded by Horizon 2020, the 3-year project aims to develop a strategy and action plan for integrating the principles of responsible research and innovation (RRI) in the development and management of the innovation ecosystem in the participating territories (Sofia, Talville (Switzerland), Sabadell (Spain), Western Macedonia in Greece).

The policies on which Sofia Municipality is focusing in RRI Leaders include support for innovations, digital transition and new skills, youth employment and entrepreneurship, sustainable urban development. The studies carried out so far in the project – in-depth interviews with experts, one focus group, a participatory workshop, have identified various issues related to the above policies, which can be improved through increased public engagement, more effective cooperation between the municipal authorities, academia, the private and the non-governmental sector, better use of the results of research and science in setting long-term priorities for sustainable urban development, etc. On July 15, SDA and the ARC Fund organized a workshop with representatives of the research and innovation ecosystem, businesses, the municipal administration and NGOs. Working in groups, the participants proposed strategic and practical measures to be included in relevant future strategic and policy documents in the policy areas referred to above. These proposals will become an integral part of the transformative outlook for the development of the city, which will be developed by the end of the project.

More information about the results of the research and upcoming activities can be found on the project website,, on the website of SDA and the ARC Fund.


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