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.



The youngest audience at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences (FESS) at the University of Plovdiv "Paisii Hilendarski", namely the first-year students, discussed the environment in which they live, gave interesting innovative proposals for solving environmental and transport problems and presented their views about the INNOAIR project.

During seminar classes in Geoeconomics, first-year students from the faculty discussed the challenges of the urban environment in which they live. On the one hand, they presented their views on the INNOAIR project through their own work, and on the other, they discussed the environmental and, in particular, transport problems in the city of Plovdiv, but of course, the young people's view also covered the topic on a global scale. The students also had the opportunity to present best practices and their ideas on innovative and environmentally friendly methods and technologies for urban mobility. The students' curiosity about new technological solutions ranged from electric scooters to bullet trains. Also, SMART solutions in urban mobility such as smart park-n-nodes and the need for a more sustainable transport industry did not escape their eyes.

INNOAIR was presented as the first Bulgarian project focused on providing innovative and creative solutions to urban challenges to improve air quality and stimulate green transport. The students showed interest in the on demand green public transport and green corridors. The overall thrust of the participants was in highlighting the need for change in urban mobility due to pollution and air quality. Plovdiv is among the cities with a growing need for measures and solutions in this direction.

Specifically, in their paper titled "Innovative and Environmentally Friendly Methods for Urban Mobility", the students' interest was focused on on-demand transport and smart busses. The fast connection and easy access via the internet as well as the possibility of arranging the location of the on-demand transport were put forward as conveniences. The smart bus received special attention because it eliminates the waiting at bus stops and its’ ease of adapting routes and schedules.

Initiatives that reduce the need to use a private car have not escaped the minds of the creative young audience. The students presented the idea of Car Next Door as an alternative to rental cars. The aim is to rent cars directly between users registered in the system. Based on the example of an Australian company, a flexible alternative system is proposed, a hybrid of several already popular options for the use of other peoples’ cars, including both the possibility of daily or hourly rental between users and a choice between car, SUV and van, and a feedback system with evaluation of the vehicle after it has been used; GPS technology to track the location and provide insurance for both parties, and payment processing.

Young people's fascination with mobile apps is reflected in their interest in Sofia Coin, a mobile app that encourages citizens to adopt eco-friendly ways of getting around. Good practices from Western Australia, such as the Department for Transport's on-demand transport project, were discussed, as well as the advantages and status of ridesharing in the US, Western Europe and Bulgaria as an innovative mode of transport.

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


Social Innovation Plus – Competence Centres (SI PLUS)

Social Innovation Plus – Competence Centres (SI PLUS)

SI PLUS is building up national competence centres for social innovation in Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia. It boosts social innovation, notably with a focus on employment and the labour market. It organises mutual learning and breaks down research results into practical approaches and tools for practitioners implementing ESF+ programmes. SI PLUS also mobilises the expertise of partners from Germany, Slovenia, Croatia and the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises (ENSIE).

SI PLUS is one of the six projects supported by the European Commission in order to establish national competence centres for social innovation across the EU. During two years (May 2021-May 2023) social innovation organisations, research centres, ESF managing authorities and other partners design and develop competence centres, which can help their countries to promote social innovation, including with funding from ESF+ and other EU programmes.








The project is funded by the EUROPEAN COMMISSION, European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation.

RRI Leaders brochure


We are happy to present the RRI Leaders brochure with more information about the project methodology, activities and expected results. Please follow the project website and social media,, as well as SDA’s website to receive updates and to learn how to get involved.

RRI Leaders brochure / 1













RRI Leaders brochure / 2















Only those who have literally plucked the fruits of their labor know what satisfaction farming brings. However, with the increasing trend towards urbanization, the number of people engaged in agriculture is decreasing at the expense of the need for more and more resources. Fortunately, we are increasingly finding more opportunities and ideas on how to grow our own crops in the city. It is easy when we have at our disposal a large outdoor area, but there is a solution for small, enclosed spaces as well - vertical gardens. The even better news is that everyone can make a vertical garden on their own now by simply using the manual developed by Sofia Development Association!

At the end of last year, Sofia Development Association, Sofia Green and Applied Research and Communication Fund launched the “Do-it-yourself vertical garden” initiative under the CityZen project. It was attended by students from UACEG, entrepreneurs, gardening and agriculture experts, designers, agri-environmentalists and marketing specialists. Together they developed a concept and models of vertical gardens, and after some hard work, real prototypes as well. Thus, 6 different locations in Sofia obtained vertical gardens designed and made by the citizens! Their "foster families" happily took on the important tasks of planting and caring for plants, as well as the most enjoyable - picking fresh spices, herbs, vegetables and fruits such as parsley, dill, oregano, chives, lemon balm, mint, radish, baby spinach, strawberries.

For 3 months, the vertical gardens were tested by their owners on how sustainable and functional they are, how they affect the working environment and the people. Through the design seminars and this project feedback, Sofia Development Association developed a manual "Do-it-yourself Vertical Urban Farming Garden". With it, anyone can easily and quickly make their own vertical garden from easily available materials on the market, as well as inform themselves about what is suitable to grow in it depending on the season. Each prototype takes several hours to make, costs no more than BGN 200 and requires basic skills with tools, desire and imagination. And growing crops is a skill that everyone is worth developing.

Check out the Handbook HERE, get inspired and create a garden in your home or office!


The CityZen project is funded by the INTERREG EUROPE programme, cofunded by EU’s ERDF.


RRI Leaders: Highlights of 2021



RRI Leaders: Highlights of 2021

RRI Leaders: Highlights of 2021. Read our new publication to find out what the Bulgarian partners have achieved in the first project year in Sofia. 








The first in Bulgaria Bureau for Information and Services for third country nationals opened its doors in Sofia in September 2021. The Bureau now has its own website, where you may find information about the services provided to foreigners and migrants, past and upcoming activities, events and opportunities in the field of integration.

In addition, the website offers detailed information on services, provided in Bulgaria in the field of employment, administrative services, health care, education, access to housing and social orientation, in the section "Life in Bulgaria" HERE.

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 program and the services provided by the Bureau are in several languages.

You can find the program for January in Bulgarian HERE.

You can find the program for January in English HERE.

You can find the program for January in French HERE.

You can find the program for January in Arabic HERE.

You can find the program for January in Farsi HERE.

The Bureau for Information and Services for third country national is established under the #CONNECTION project and is 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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