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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SOFIA MUNICIPALITY PRESENTS ITS EXPERIENCE IN THE USE OF ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

The European Parliament's Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Age organized a workshop on May 28, 2021, on Artificial Intelligence and Public Administration. The event aimed to discuss the use of artificial intelligence and algorithms in EU public services and to help MEPs promote digital solutions for public administration and find the right regulatory balance between them.

Sofia Municipality was among the four European administrations invited to the hearing - representatives of the governments of Finland and Denmark and the National Research Institute in Poland - to share the context, specific parameters, what has been learned so far and the challenges of using artificial intelligence.

Ivan Nikolov, Director of the Transport Directorate of Sofia Municipality, and Sevdalina Voynova, Program Director at Sofia Development Association, presented the use of artificial intelligence in the introduction of the innovative electric urban transport service on demand. This service is being developed within the INNOAIR project; the first Bulgarian project funded by the EU initiative Urban Innovative Actions. With the help of big data and artificial intelligence, traditional bus routes and timetables in some urban areas will be replaced by a proactive service, with electric minibuses running on flexible routes and timetables according to the demand for the service. Speakers also shared some lessons learned so far - the need to radically improve data management, capacity building within the administration to work with artificial intelligence, the need to analyze social and economic effects, etc.

MEPs and their teams showed significant interest in what Sofia had to share and further discussed how we overcome resistance to change, what incentives we use to attract universities, and how we see the development of regulations. Possible incentives and a structured exchange of experience at European level were discussed.

You can see more about the workshop on the EP Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in the Digital Age website: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/committees/en/aida-workshop-on-ai-and-public-administr/product-details/20210520CAN60988

         

    

REDISCOVER THE CITY WITH CLEAN URBAN MOBILITY

On the occasion of EU Green Week and on the initiative of the municipal councilor Simeon Kolev, Sofia Municipality and Urban Mobility Centre with the assistance of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department, are organizing an event dedicated to clean mobility.

On the last days of May - 29 and 30.05.2021, the day before the official start of the European Green Week, the organizers are drawing attention to the topic of sustainable mobility and are giving rise to other initiatives.

In the section closed for cars in front of the Court House leading companies that provide funds and services for environmentally friendly movement in the city and innovative projects of Sofia, for a new generation of mobility such as INNOAIR, will be presented.

Both days, from 10 am to 5 pm, all residents and guests of Sofia will be able to view and test the first service for shared electric mopeds in Sofia “Share-A-Scoot”, electric scooters NIU, electric scooters “E- point”, Xiaomi electric scooters from Technopolis. “E-velo” electric bicycles and “E-mountain Bike” mountain bikes have a new feel to the wheels.

Volkswagen electric cars and the “Spark” electric mobility sharing service will also be available. The largest network of charging stations for electric vehicles „Eldrive“ will also be presented, as well as the new generation bicycle stands of “Streebl”. A partner of the event will also be Shell, in whose tent the cars of the future with zero emissions will be presented, designed by students for participation in the international competition “Shell Eco-marathon”. Spaghetti Kitchen will take care of the mood of the visitors.

The interest in clean mobility in the city is growing and Sofia is also waking up for spring and is striving to become a cleaner and more sustainable city.

Come and join. Get involved. Let us all choose a cleaner and healthier way to move and breathe cleaner air.

AN INTERACTIVE AND EXCITING EVENT WITH A SOCIAL CAUSE – THIS IS THE IN-EDU INTERNATIONAL STUDENT CAMP!

Sofia Development Association as a major organizer of the IN-EDU international student camp accepted the challenge to make an online event for young people in the presence of a huge online fatigue and managed to make it exciting and interesting!

“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn,” once said Benjamin Franklin. Obviously all of the speakers of IN-EDU camp agree with the quote since they managed to make such engaging presentations and discussions with the 60 students from Bulgaria, Croatia, Italy and Slovenia, who took part in the international camp. The projects of the students on the tasks, given by professionals from NGOs and Business sector, are a solid proof as well!

In two days - 14th and 15th of May 2021 the IN-EDU team managed to meet the students with Diego Ciulli from Public Policy and Government Affairs at Google Italia, the Common frames team, who are experts in the field of video making and 5 motivational speakers.

The students got acquainted with the topic of “Greenwashing”, presented by Lubomila Jordanova - the founder and CEO of Plan A, a Berlin-based startup developing an end-to-end platform that enables companies to measure, monitor and reduce their environmental footprint and improve their ESG performance. After her speech, they created a Kahoot questionnaire which could help anyone to better understand the essence and the consequences of Greenwashing.

It is said that “Good things come to those who wait” and after the presentation of Alberto Puliafito - editor-in-chief and co-founder of Slow News, the first Italian slow journalistic project, the students know that same is valid for quality news. Slowly but surely they dived into the topic of “Media Literacy and the new way of journalism against fake news” and the result of the discussion is clear – extremely well-prepared educational campaign, especially designed for kids aged 3-8 years with cartoons and a fun story, which could make people from all ages to support the idea of Slow News.

The students are also aware of the importance of Equality and Data literacy for contrasting disinformation on and discrimination of migrants thanks to Andrea Menapace - director of Open Migration. He explained well that stereotypes should be contrasted in order for the people to overcome them. The students managed to create a video, which presents the story of how stereotypes originated and a plan on how to distribute it widely.

After hearing out Hrvoje Harac, who works as a project and development manager at Udruga Pobjede and his field “Education on protection and rights of animals with the aim of encouraging the development of compassion, solidarity and active participation in society”, the students created a social network campaign, which could touch the heart of anyone – a good visual material + the right message = the new to make a change in the world and they put this equation into practice.

Last but not least – they learned more about FOMO - Fear of missed opportunities represents a relatively new form of social anxiety,defined as an individual's concern about missing pleasant, satisfying, social events. They presented the topic with the support of a cute chicken which definitely knows how to transform the Fear of missing out into a Joy of missing out and it is ready to share his knowledge with people who suffer from FOMO. The chicken is designed by one of the students and it is loved by anyone who has seen it.

According to the participants, it is great that none of them missed the opportunity to join the IN-EDU international student’s camp. They not only learned and had fun, but also contributed to make a positive change in the world.

The IN-EDU international student camp was organized by SDA in the framework of Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme, with the contribution of the project partners FORMA.Azione Srl, Centre for Peace, Nonviolence and Human Rights – Osijek, ITET “Aldo Capitini” Institute, ERIM Europe, PRIZMA Foundation and DZZD Obuchenie.

    

 

    

 

        

“131 Ideas for Empowerment in the Transition to Sustainable Urban Mobility” Guide


The transition to sustainable urban mobility has turned into a buzz phrase in recent times, in line with the expectation to overcome the negative environmental and health costs of transport. However, although new technology leads to new opportunities, this process also requires considerable changes in societal practices and individual behavior. So how can this transition be achieved? Who is responsible and who is in charge?

The INNOAIR project partners have developed a guidebook “131 ideas for Empowerment in the Transition to Sustainable Urban Mobility”. The purpose of the guide is to provide practical examples and suggestions to local authorities, universities and educational institutions and businesses – the actors that set “the rules of the game” that shape interactions and individual choices. The examples are based on a research in Sofia engaging over 450 persons and 15 leading companies and universities. The guide is available in Bulgarian and in English

We hope the ideas will encourage, inspire and challenge others to join the process of empowerment to sustainable low-carbon urban mobility.

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

 

IN-EDU student camp – Conceptualize, Engage and Act for Social/Civic Cause!

Do you want to work on a social cause and upgrade your knowledge of media and information literacy? Are you interested in topics such as “Greenwashing”, “Media literacy and the new way of journalism to fight against fake news”, “Equality” and “Animal rights”? Do you want to find solutions to real cases of international companies and organizations working in these fields?

The IN-EDU project gives the participants, who took part in the IN-EDU civic hackathons on media and information literacy, conducted in Bulgaria, Italy, Croatia and Slovenia, the opportunity to do all that by joining the student camp in an international team with peers from the 4 European countries. You will get acquainted with foreign cultures, work together on tasks and last but not least - have fun! Additionally, you will have the chance to meet Public Policy and Government Affairs at Google Italia - Diego Ciulli, as well as to get knowledge and practical tools, which will help you produce your own ‘viral video’.

The camp will take place online on 14th and 15th of May and will give you an overview and answers to questions such as “What are the consequences of green-washing and how to make sure if a company is truly environmentally friendly?”, “What is the new way of journalism to fight against fake news?”, “How to protect the rights of animals with the aim of encouraging the development of compassion, solidarity and active participation in society?” and “How to fight digital addiction and the “fear of missing out”?”

In addition to the experience of working in a real environment and the certificate for working on a social cause, the IN-EDU team has prepared for you prizes and surprises! Participate to find out what are they. 

*Please, bear in mind that the number of participants is limited. No more than 10 participants per country could take part.*

You may find the IN-EDU student camp programme at https://in-eduproject.eu/student-camp.html.

The student camp is organized in the framework of Media Inclusion and Critical Thinking EDUcation (IN-EDU) project, co-financed by the EU Erasmus + Programme.

ART AS AN INCENTIVE FOR ACTIVE TRANSPORT

Is a ticket for a concert of opera stars a good incentive to promote active transport in Sofia? The INNOAIR team proves that the answer is “Yes!”.

INNOAIR supports the citizens in the transition to alternative ways of moving around Sofia, resulting in cleaner air and healthier lifestyles. At this year's edition of the traditional bike event "Bike Parade 2021 - Sofia cycles and runs for cleaner air" the INNOAIR project partners provided an unusual and prestigious prize - two free tickets to the Gala of the opera prima Sonya Yoncheva and legend Placido Domingo!

“Be brave, live actively and always be together and in shape! My way to thank you is through music!”, says Sonya Yoncheva, with whose support the award was provided.

The event took place on April 18, 2021 and gathered more than 500 cyclists and more than 120 runners, who enthusiastically waited for the start of the parade and despite the cold weather were determined to show their support for cycling and walking in the city. The award aroused great interest. “Such a prestigious award is very motivating!” shared the participants. “Awards like this build an excellent reputation for cyclists! Well done!” they greeted. The winners expressed their gratitude and admitted that they are looking forward to the gala, which will be held in the heart of Sofia on August 31 this year.

An active, fruitful day with a sequel - an unforgettable experience in touch with the work of world-class stars - INNOAIR made this possible.

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

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