The second edition of the “Sofia chooses” initiative is underway. Sofia Municipality’s program is directed toward projects proposed by citizens and selected by them by voting which aim to improve the urban environment. This year’s topic is “Sofia chooses green” and submission is open for proposals of citizens and organizations for ideas focused on tackling climate change, biodiversity conservation, growing trees in the urban environment, green roofs, urban agriculture, reducing air pollution, alternative energy sources, etc. Sofia Chooses aims to encourage the direct participation of citizens, non-governmental and professional organizations in proposing projects for the city. The budget for 2022 is BGN 1,000,000, and proposal submission is open until 31 December. Read everything about the Program and how to submit here: https://www.sofia.bg/en/sofia-izbira-zelenoto
The marking of 100 km of tourist routes and 72 km of mountain biking trails on Vitosha mountain has been renewed. This is the first part of the planned gradual renovation and addition of the marking for hiking and biking tours on the low mountain road path horizontally of the nature park. It’s an initiative of the “Sofia – European Capital of Sport” Foundation, Vitosha Nature Park, and the “Vertical World” Sports Club and its implementation will continue next year.
Six locations in Sofia are in preparation for vertical urban agriculture under the CityZen project, funded by the INTERREG Europe Program and co-financed by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The vertical gardens were made within 2 design seminars and installed in different locations, including a residential building in Iztok district, in Sofia Municipality, Sofia Tech Park, the supermarket of the Central Cooperative Union, a branch of the Sofia Library, and SofiaLab. Along with the specially designed vertical gardens, the teams of volunteers have everything they need – pots and boxes, soil, drainage, seedlings, and compost, provided by the Khan Bogrov Biological Treatment Plant of Sofia Municipality. The implementation of the project is coordinated by the Sofia Development Association, which will monitor the first harvest of vertical gardens in the months to come, and the effect of urban agriculture on people and places in urban environments.
The gradual planting of 200 linden trees in the new linear park in the center of Sofia between the roads on Macedonia Blvd. has started. 13,000 shrubs and more than 5,000 flowers will also be planted throughout the area. The landscaping is part of the implementation of the project for reconstruction of one of the busiest tram routes in the capital – between the Court House and Knyazhevo district and will cover the route between the Russian Monument and Macedonia Square. Two pedestrian alleys, a bicycle lane, and recreation areas will be established in the space between the two existing and currently local lanes. The tram rails themselves will also be landscaped. Thus, the space will turn into a “green island” in the heart of the city. The conceptual design for the park is by the French architectural firm Wilmotte Architects.
The ice rink in the municipal sports complex in Vazrazhdane Park has opened its doors. The municipal company “Sportna Sofia 2000” has developed various possibilities for using the slide. On weekdays, the facility will be free for students and children from kindergartens at specific hours of the day. The ice rink has an area of 800 square meters and a capacity of up to 150 skaters at a time and offers great opportunities for initial training of children and beginners in sports such as ice hockey, figure skating, and others.
The traditional German Christmas Bazaar opened its doors in the City Garden in front of the Ivan Vazov National Theater. The Christmas village will be open to visitors until December 21 and welcome them every day from 11:00 to 22:00 with traditional wooden houses and tents, spiced wine, delicious food, Christmas decorations, and handmade gifts. As in previous years, the village will also provide its space for charity. Access to the bazaar is only available with a green certificate, and masks will not be required. The German Christmas Bazaar has opened every winter season since 2011 and is among the initiatives aimed not only at transferring the cultural traditions of German-speaking countries in Bulgaria but also at promoting Bulgarian traditions in Europe.
Sofia Municipality is examining the potential of over 800 municipal buildings for using solar energy. The intention is to build clean energy installations in gardens, schools, public buildings for culture, sports, and more. The municipality is also working on projects for constructing photovoltaic centers in two of the big energy concentrators in the capital – Sofia Zoo and the City’s Waste treatment.
This year the “Social Innovations” program initiated by Sofia Mayor Yordanka Fandakova to support innovative projects in the social sphere has helped a total of 19 projects, one of which is the Strong – a Viber bot to combat domestic violence. The application is the work of the Future Perfect Foundation aiming to inform about civil rights in case of domestic violence, the steps to follow for protection, the available places to seek help, and assistance in Sofia Municipality. The bot provides quick access and contacts to the round-the-clock telephone lines and centers in Bulgaria, and educational materials about the cycle and forms of violence, the responsibility the perpetrator bears, and the actions the police would take. The chatbot is available at: https://chats.viber.com/silna or by searching for “Strong” in the Viber search engine for Android, iOS, or desktop.