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 participates in the evaluation of the National Youth Strategy (2010-2020)

On July 21, 2020, Sofia Development Association took part in a focus group on the project "National Youth Strategy - Monitoring and Evaluation", organized by the National Youth Forum.

Sofia Development Association implements the Sofia Youth Strategy (2017 – 2027) and supports the development of youth through the activities of the Sofia Youth Innovation Laboratory (SofiaLab), established under the project "New Generation Skills" in 2018. Since then SDA contributes to the acquisition of skills necessary for the realization of young people in a real work environment by organizing and hosting various events and trainings. These activities were the reason for the participation of Sanya Raeva - SofiaLab developer in the discussion on Strategic Area №2 of the National Youth Strategy, namely "Improving access to information and quality services".

Among the participants in the online meeting were experts in the field of youth policies, representatives of various organizations and young people who have experience in working on any of the 9 strategic areas of action of the National Youth Strategy. During the webinar were discussed the results achieved from the implementation of the Strategy and were presented proposals and recommendations for the creation and implementation of more effective and evidence-based youth policies.

At the end of the year, the team of the National Youth Forum will prepare a report, containing recommendations for the next youth strategy and general recommendations for the creation and implementation of youth policies in the country.

State-of-the-art Technology to Improve Public Transport and to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19: SDA Joins a Winning Consortium Funded by EIT Urban Mobility

In response to the EIT Urban Mobility Crisis Response Initiative dedicated to addressing urban mobility challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, SDA was invited to join a consortium led by the Technical University of Catalonia for the CO-APS project. The initiative is called Crowdsourced Obtention and Analytics of Data About the Crowding of Public Spaces for the benefit of Public Transport and Mobility in Cities and is one of the 11 innovative projects funded by the EIT. The initiative aims to introduce state-of-the-art technology in just 6 months (July-December 2020) in the partner cities to help public transport authorities deal with the pandemic.

With mobility restrictions being eased in most countries, people are encouraged to go back to work, and the use of public transport and public spaces will grow steadily. Overcrowding and keeping social distance are critical challenges in this respect, with significant impact on life in the city, including also public transport, the economy, social activities, etc. CO-APS will consider these aspects by implementing Mobile, Web and Cloud technologies. CO-APS will collect data to provide analytical solutions with added value information about crowds and their mobility that will be tested in various use cases/small scale pilots involving the consortium stakeholders: TMB-Spain (Barcelona train stations), City of St. Germain-France (pedestrian commercial streets), Karditsa-Greece (multi-modal mobility), Sofia and Istanbul-Turkey (transport hubs).

SDA will cooperate with the Center for Urban Mobility and Directorate Public Transport of Sofia Municipality in this initiative.

Read here about the initiative and the winning projects.

5 social entrepreneurs from Bulgaria selected to enter the second stage of #AirCompetition

5 out of 25 companies with social impact business in Bulgaria were selected by a Jury consisting of social impact investors and experts to continue in the second stage of the international #AirCompetition organized in the framework of the Finances4SocialChange project, co-financed by Interreg Danube.

The areas of intervention of the companies are diverse – from circular economy and environmentally friendly production to education through video games, social and labour inclusion of people with disabilities, enhancing functional literacy of students through online games, community center.

The selected companies will develop business plans, social impact KPIs and compete with companies from Serbia and Moldova in November 2020 for winning 10 000EUR investment secured by Unicredit Bulbank Hungary.



AGORA project (Advanced Co-Generation Options for Reintegrating local Assets)

Sofia Development Association started working on AGORA project, which aims at faster and better regeneration of the urban environment. Achieving this goal requires increasing the capacity of the public administration, developing better inclusive policies and incorporating the tools needed to implement these policies into governance. Priority of the project are public-private partnerships with broad citizen participation.

AGORA offers a model for addressing these challenges by deploying and adopting new, creative governance instruments for public administrations. The project supports the building of administrative capacity for effective involvement, connection and empowerment of a wide group of stakeholders in the reintegration of vacant buildings and land, public and private, into the productive city value system. AGORA aims to achieve a significant change in the work process of public administrations at the local level, as well as to create a transnational training platform to assist the cities of the Danube region in the reintegration and rehabilitation of underused urban assets, giving new meaning to abandoned industrial areas and desolate lands as well as declining urban areas.

The consortium of AGORA project consists of 28 partners from 14 countries in the Danube region, including municipalities, NGOs, European networks and others. The leading partner of the project is the Municipality of Cluj-Napoca. The variety of partners provides an opportunity for the most effective exchange of experience, good practices and ideas. To fulfill the goals of the project, the Sofia Development Association will work in collaboration with Sofia Municipality. The project duration is 2 and a half years (01.06.2020 - 30.11.2022).

On July 16, 2020 the project partners held their kick-off meeting online, at which they planned their future joined work, acquainted each other with the context and the challenges each city is facing, and discussed the thematic clusters for our joined learning and exchange.

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




SDA is set to start the implementation of the new project TRANSFORM - SMART CLIMATE KIC CITY TRANSFORMATION.

The Covid-19 economic and public health crisis highlighted the instability of our incomes and the fragility of our immune systems, and the need for us to become more resilient towards external changes. In this TRANSFORM project we want to achieve that in two separate ways: “digital” and “full urban transformations” of homes in order to reduce energy consumption, improve physical and mental health of citizens, and reduce recurring costs thus freeing up extra capital. All of which will improve longevity and quality of life, increase creativity and productivity and promote economic growth, job creation and quicker recovery me. Through the project we expect to refurbish up to 30,000 homes until 2024, with an overall job creation of more than 15,000 FTEs and an annual climate impact and CO2 reduction of 45,000MtCO2e/year, which we will begin planning for in the second part of 2020. We will use the initial funding to develop and demonstrate the solutions for the digital; and prepare for the full urban transformations starting in 2021.

The consortium is led by JIBE Company (NL), with partners Bankers Without Boundaries (UK), Dark Matter Laboratories (NL), Virtech Ltd (BG), Topsportslab (BE). It is co-funded by EIT Climate KIC.

Read here about the initiative and the winning projects.

Supported by: 

Innovative Public Transport in Sofia

Thanks to this project, the city will test for the first time in Europe an innovative practice for "green public transport on demand"

Sofia is the first Bulgarian city to win an Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) project. The program is an initiative of the European Union that provides urban areas across Europe with resources to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The INNOAIR project of Sofia Municipality and a wide coalition of partners was approved for funding after a serious competition with 220 projects from other European cities and regions.

Through this project, Sofia will test for the first time in Europe an innovative practice for "green public transport on demand". Instead of traveling on predetermined routes, the new electric buses will create a route map based on the demand of citizens submitted through a mobile application. The app will use artificial intelligence to refine data analysis in order to create the most efficient route for each trip by gathering as many passengers as possible. The project provides for big data analysis, the use of artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.
The innovation will be tested in one of the districts in Sofia. The project will be implemented over 3 years and is expected to start this fall.

The project budget is around 4.6 million euros, with 20% co-financing provided by each of the partners. The leading partner of the consortium is Sofia Municipality, and its members are: Sofia Development Association, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski ”, Plovdiv University “Paisii Hilendarski”, Sofia Urban Mobility Centre, National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria, “Modeshift” and National Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology.

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


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