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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LANDSCAPING FOR CLEANER AIR - INNOAIR student competition with the University of Forestry, Sofia

Green areas in the city contribute to improving the quality of life. Currently 47% of the area of Sofia is covered by parks, gardens and forests.

The INNOAIR project enables students from the University of Forestry to plant another small part of Sofia by developing projects and working on a real case. The best project will receive funding for implementation.

Sofia Municipality offers students to develop a project for the green area of the newly built part of Todor Kableshkov Blvd. Projects should include vegetation that most effectively purifies the air, helps conserve local biodiversity, is easy to maintain, arouses year-round interest and is affordable. The aim is not to repeat the typical decorative species, but to realize innovative ecological ideas. Students will also be involved in the planting itself.

Those who would like to register for participation can do so at the following link.

A competent jury with representatives of the University of Forestry, the Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality from the Green Systems Directorate and the Transport Directorate will select the winning project that will receive funding.

The competition is organized by the Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality and is held within the INNOAIR project, the first and only project from Bulgaria, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. The project introduces for the first time in Europe on-demand public transport, as well as for the first time in Sofia and Bulgaria low emission zone, green corridors, and the mobile application SofiaCoin with prizes for active transport. However, sustainable urban mobility still has many dimensions.

"We rely on students to show the maximum value of a small area and to set an example of responsible sustainable landscape design. Sofia needs such specialists, and the people of Sofia need such inspiring examples, "said Mayor Yordanka Fandakova.

"Students of Landscape Architecture at the University of Forestry are trained and motivated to consider the anthropogenic and natural environment as a whole and follow the human-nature interaction to make informed decisions for maintaining the balance between them. They are creative and know how to combine innovative approaches in their work with the requirements for sustainable development. M. Shahanova, lecturer in Floriculture and mentor of the students participating in the competition.

The presentation of the student projects will take place on May 9, 2022, at the University of Forestry.

For more information, you can follow the Facebook event LANDSCAPING FOR CLEANER AIR.

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

PLOUTOS: COOPERATION FOR ACHIEVING THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS' FINANCIAL INDEPENDENCE THROUGH FINANCIAL LITERACY TOOLS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP BOOTCAMPS

New Survey of the Access to Financial Services for Third-Country Nationals

Sofia Development Association begins a new survey about the access to financial services for third country nationals (TCNs). The survey is part of the project PLOUTOS, which aims to improve third country nationals’ access to financial services via a course on financial literacy and business language in Bulgarian; a course on community interpreting, and a practice business program and entrepreneurship for third country nationals.

This survey seeks to analyze the current state of affairs and barriers for TCNs to access financial services, as well as to identify respective support measures. This questionnaire is anonymous, and all replies will be held securely and confidentially.

If you are a third country national settled in Bulgaria, we invite you to fill in the questionnaire. Completing the questionnaire is easy as it simply requires you to tick various options or provide some short answers; this will only take about 20 minutes of your time.

The survey is open until the end of May, 2022. You can fill in the questionnaire online in Bulgarian click here or in English click here. If you prefer to do a paper-based survey, please visit the Bureau for Information and Services for Third Country Nationals, located at 111 Hristo Botev Blvd., Monday to Friday, from 10 am to 5 pm.

If you have further questions about the survey or the project, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (please put “Project PLOUTOS Survey” in the subject line).

PLOUTOS is implemented with the support of the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

MORE BIKES - MORE HEALTH - INNOAIR student competition with TU Gabrovo and TU Sofia

Sofia will soon have its first two stations for automated counting of bicycles moving around the city. The data so far came either from manual counting by volunteers at key locations or from the results of surveys among the citizens.

The data about the number of bicycles in cities are used to help plan and develop urban infrastructure and organize traffic. In Europe, bicycle counting stations have been shown to raise awareness of this type of transport, increase road safety and tolerance, and encourage more people to use their bicycles. Accurate data also ensures policy transparency and civic participation.

The first two bicycle counting stations will be developed by students at the Technical University of Sofia and the Technical University of Gabrovo. The Sofia Development Association for and Sofia Municipality in partnership with TU - Sofia and TU - Gabrovo announced a challenge for development of an automated counting station for bicycles. The winning projects will receive funding to be developed into working prototypes and installed near the main bike lanes in Sofia. The competition allows the students to practice their knowledge and show their talent by offering solutions for more sustainable transport and cleaner air in Sofia.

The competition is held within the INNOAIR project, the first and so far the only project from Bulgaria, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative. The project introduces for the first time in Europe on-demand public transport, as well as for the first time in Sofia and Bulgaria low emission zone, green corridors, and the mobile application SofiaCoin with prizes for active transport. However, sustainable urban mobility still has many dimensions.

"Automated bicycle counting will be definitely necessary in the future, so it is important to start the process together with the future engineers. I hope this will be not only for the benefit of the city, but also a career springboard for the young professionals that Sofia needs, "said Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia.

"Competitions like this, in which students, with the help of their teachers, not only seek solutions to real cases, but also have a chance to turn them into real products and services, show the link between higher education, local government and industry. The competition helped us to develop new partnerships. ”Prof. Iliya Slavov Zhelezarov, PhD, Rector, Technical University of Gabrovo.

"By designing and creating a real prototype, students from the Faculty of Electronic Engineering and Technology (FETT) at the Technical University will increase their skills for solving real problems, achieve a better understanding of the issue and increase their competitiveness and opportunities for realization on the labor market. The cooperation between the teams of TU-Sofia and the Sofia Development Association leads to increasing the level of education of students from TU-Sofia and the opportunity to deal with real problems of everyday life of Sofia residents." Assoc. Prof. Dimitar Nikolov, PhD, Technical University of Sofia.

You can follow up-to-date information about the competitions on the Facebook event.

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

 

Sofia Municipality and Sofia Development Association Announce the First Winners of SofiaCoin

With these awards we express our deep appreciation for our fellow citizens and users of the app, who have chosen to walk and ride their bikes in the city. Alternative mobility is good not only for our health but also for the environment and the city, said Mayor Fandakova during the first award ceremony of the most active users of SofiaCoin. The awards were provided by Sofia Development Association, the Center for Urban Mobility, and private companies.

The event held on 15 April 2022 in SofiaLab recognized the first winners who have walked or cycled the longest distance as registered users of SofiaCoin since the app launch. SofiaCoin, developed by SDA and Sofia Municipality, was released in December 2021. Until today, the app has registered 4700 individual trips in Sofia on foot, by bike or scooter, for a total of 7,400 kilometers: 4500 km are from walking, 2650 km by bike, and 253 km by e-scooter. Collectively, the active users of the app have saved 300 kg of CO2, over 7 kg of NO, and 1.5 kg of fine particulate matter.

The mobile app is a great way to stimulate people to walk, said Nikolay Alexandrov on accepting his award; Nikolay is one of the most active users who received the awards for the most km walked – 250, as well as for cycling – 500 km. Ivaylo Yordanov took the prize for walking 250 km, thanking Sofia Mayor and SDA for such initiatives, which “make our city a better place to live.” Vanya Maneva, who got SDA’s special prize for walking 150 km, is a firm believer that the initiative has to get to more people, in order to reduce air pollution in the city and to save the environment. As a parent, she is trying to be a good example for her children. The other winners were Stefan Uzunov, who walked the longest distance; Iliyana Yankulova and Svetlana Krasteva got the awards for walking 250 km each.

SofiaCoin is not only good for the ecology but also an important tool for decision making. The Center for Urban Mobility and the Transport Directorate of Sofia Municipality, both partners of SDA in the project, are using the app to spot the most frequently used routes by pedestrians and cyclists. Data collected from the app will help Sofia Municipality to prioritize investment in the local infrastructure where it is most needed, and to make moving around the city safer and easier for everyone, Mayor Fandakova said in closing.

The SofiaCoin app is developed for the INNOAIR project, which has received funding from the European Regional Development Fund through the Urban Innovative Actions program. INNOAIR is the first project from Bulgaria funded by the UIA.

You can download SofiaCoin by clicking here: IOs and Android.

For more information:

https://innoair-sofia.eu/

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+359 879 651 346

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

CONSORTIUM MEETING OF AGORA PROJECT, WHICH AIMS AT FASTER AND BETTER REGENERATION OF THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT

The AGORA project partners took part in an extended partnership meeting, which was held on 12 and 13 April 2022, and gave a broad view of what has been achieved so far and the upcoming steps in the remaining 9 months.

Each of the partners from 14 countries in the Danube region, working on the project, presented their activities, and shared the achievements and difficulties in their implementation. The meeting was hosted by the leading partner of the project - Cluj-Napoca Municipality, Romania. Many of the partners met physically, and others took part online.

The Sofia Development Association and Sofia Municipality presented in details the pilot project of AGORA in Sofia – the Toplocentrala, the three design seminars held with active civic participation, as well as the development of the Urban Regeneration Agenda which is going to be published soon.

In May, the project partners are going to meet in Sofia and they will have the opportunity to visit the Regional Center for Contemporary Arts Toplocentralata.

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

          

            

Sofia Development Association exchanges experience on one-stop-shops as an integrated response to integration needs

From April 6 to April 8, 2022, Sofia Development Association participated in a workshop on the integration of refugees and migrants through one-stop-shop services, together with representatives of CONNECTION project from the Municipalities of Stockholm, Dortmund, Athens, Cluj-Napoca, the coordinator of the project EUROCITIES and experts from the MigrationWork network.

The workshop was held in Stockholm and organized by the Stockholm Municipality as a part of the #CONNECTION project, co-financed by the Asylum, Migration, and Integration Fund. The guest cities visited Stockholm’s Welcome house, where newly arrived refugees and migrants can receive information and assistance in receiving social services, psychological assistance, adult education, labor market integration and others.

In addition, they visited a municipal office for one-stop-shop services, where citizens and migrants receive assistance in social orientation. All of the partner organizations introduced their one-stop-shops and their best practices on the topic, and participated in action learning with the support of Migration Work and the lead partner of the project - EUROCITIES.

Moreover, the partners discussed and gave ideas on how to develop further „How to design one-stop-shops as an integrated response to integration needs“ guide, which is being written by MigrationWork.

The newly acquired knowledge and experience will be put into practice by Sofia Development Association for further development of the Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals on 111 Hr. Botev street in order to address the Ukrainian refugee crisis even more effectively.

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

     

 

   

  

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