A wide public discussion about the options for amendment of the Common City Plan of the Sofia Municipality took place on January, 17th. The forum was organized by Vision Sofia 2050 and FOR Urban Development, and gathered over 300 citizens and experts.
The goal of the forum was to discuss the process and the content of a future amendment to the Common City Plan in order to address the needs of all of the groups of stakeholders and the dynamics of the life in the modern cities. The Common City Plan combines urban planning tools that determine and guide the development of the city environment. It has a significant impact on the quality of life, economic activity, mobility, environmental status, resource usage and many other aspects of urban life.
In the first part of the forum, some previously identified problems were presented as well as suggestions for their solutions. These topics were generated during a series of focus groups research with the participation of professionals from different fields, held at the end of 2018.
The open discussion that followed was focused on the following case studies, defined as major ones by the focus groups :
– How to reach a consensus on the city policies, shared by as many stakeholders as possible
– What should be the core concept and the content of the Common City Plan and how it can become more accessible, transparent and clear
– How can a public-private consensus be achieved and how could the public interest be protected
– How the process of creation, monitoring, implementing and modifying the Common City Plan should be managed
– Why is the data important and why is the data-based planning necessary
– What is the legal framework and is there a need for implementing changes into it
Here are some of the opinions and suggestions from the public discussion:
– The plan should be better suited for the opportunities and the resources of the municipality. Also, there should be a search for a better balance between the local and central government in favor of Sofia Municipality.
– The plan should have more flexible and dynamic elements for its implementation, and a Dictionary , part of the Common City Plan, should be created. It would help the people to better understand the problems as well as their own engagement with them.
– The Common City Plan could contribute to the reduction of the disbalance between the northern and southern parts of Sofia, the incomplete usage of the existing buildings, the creation of green corridors to Vitosha mountain, the better distribution and connection of public spaces, the management of the sports grounds, the options for pedestrian traffic and the environment.
– A wider discussion on the provision of underground car parks, spaces between the buildings and the appearance of the buildings should be initiated.
– Discussions in every neighborhood should be organised regularly.
The discussion panels included Ljubo Georgiev, director of Sofproekt-OGP, Zdravko Zdravkov, Chief Architect of Sofia Municipality, Irina Mutafchijska, university lecturer and member of the Union of Urbanists, Elitsa Panayotova, coordinator of the municipal initiative “Green Sofia”, Georgi Ivanov, Manager of Fort Noks Ltd., Bojidar Bozhanov, an IT expert in e-government, and many other participants from the city administration, NGOs, business and citizens.
You can find a record of all the live broadcasts from the conference on the Facebook page of Vision for Sofia here. All of the comments in the hall and from the social network event page will be summarised and analysed in the process of preparation for the amendment of the Common City Plan.
Comments and suggestions could be sent now and in the future to firstname.lastname@example.org.