WHAT IS PROGRAM FOR SOFIA?
Program for Sofia is the plan for integrated development of Sofia Municipality for the period 2021-2027. The strategic document defines the medium-term goals and priorities for sustainable integrated development of the city. This is done based on a detailed analysis of the current problems and potentials of the municipality and its relations with the surrounding settlements. The process of creating the Program includes the identification of priority areas for intervention and specific key projects that will be implemented in Sofia during the next programming period of the European Union from 2021 to 2027.
The aim of the Program for Sofia is to select the most reasoned and necessary for the city projects that are realistic to implement and have a clearly justified budget, deadline and sources of funding through European Union funds and other public and private initiatives. The main task of the Program is to achieve an integrated approach in urban planning and coordinate the efforts of various stakeholders.
The integrated approach in urban planning requires linking all municipal plans and strategies in a well-coordinated and effectively functioning system. That is why the Program for Sofia is being developed in sync with all other strategic and spatial planning documents. Program for Sofia is the new form of the Municipal Development Plan and the Integrated Plan for Urban Reconstruction and Development of Sofia Municipality, which operated in the period 2014-2020.
The document is based on the long-term strategy for development of Sofia and its suburban areas until 2050 - Vision for Sofia. For the creation of the Program the team of Sofiaplan uses a rich database of over 50 researches, made during the preparation of the Vision. The program will develop in detail and will specify the steps and measures set for the first 7 years of Vision for Sofia.
The goals and priorities in the new Program will be linked to the Plan of Sofia or the General Urban Plan of Sofia Municipality. It will reflect the conclusions and summaries of the numerous consultations and expert meetings organised in connection with the forthcoming renewal of the plan.
The Program for Sofia is expected to be completed in early 2021 and subsequently to be discussed and adopted by the Sofia Municipal Council. Within three months after the adoption of the Program, it will be presented to the Regional Development Council.
The preparation of the Program for Sofia was assigned to Sofiaplan at the end of April by the Chief Architect of Sofia Municipality. It is developed in accordance with the requirements of the Regional Development Act, the Regulations for its implementation and the Methodological guidelines for development and implementation of integrated development plans of municipalities for the period 2021-2027, approved by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works.
Program for Sofia is being developed in close coordination and interaction with citizens, business, non-governmental organisations and administration. The aim is to ensure maximum publicity and transparency of the process by providing opportunities for feedback and informed conversation about the future of Sofia. The strategic document will be finalised after a wide public discussion and a series of consultations with experts, professional organisations and representatives of the administration.
The content of Program for Sofia follows a structure of eight specific parts:
Part I. Territorial scope and analysis of the economic, social and ecological situation
This part contains an analysis of the economic, social and ecological condition of Sofia Municipality. It examines the state of the local economy; the development of the social sphere and human resources; infrastructure, connectivity and accessibility of the territory; environmental status and risks; cultural and historical heritage; the settlement network and the housing sector; the capacity of the municipal administration to implement the Program and many others. Sofiaplan will map as much information as possible to the level of urban planning units, i.e. neighbourhoods and settlements in the municipality. A passport will be created for each urban unit, which will include information on the population, energy consumption, buildings, green networks, access to public transport, the availability of schools and kindergartens, etc. This will allow much more accurate identification of the neighborhoods and settlements that need the greatest investment.
A SWOT-analysis will also be made with the aim to choose the most optimal strategy for achieving the goals in the Program.
Part II. Goals and priorities for development of the municipality for the period 2021-2027
Program for Sofia contains a vision for the future, strategic goals and priorities aimed at the potential for development of the territory with appropriate measures to them. The starting point are the goals and steps prescribed in the already approved Vision for Sofia. This part of the document defines the strategy for the implementation of the program, which covers and traces the relationship between the formulated vision, the defined strategic goals and the related priorities for the development of the capital city.
Part III. Description of the communication strategy, partners and stakeholders
The idea is to involve a large number of stakeholders in the preparation and implementation of Program for Sofia for 2021-2027. Citizen participation in the process is extremely important and would guarantee its quality, realism and broad public support. Therefore, Sofiaplan assigns to Imp-Act Agency the preparation and implementation of a communication strategy to explain and promote the meaning and place of Program for Sofia in the system of strategic and spatial planning in the city. Its task is to ensure transparency and awareness of the process and the expected results by familiarising and activating stakeholders to participate in the creation and implementation of the document.
Part IV. Defining areas for applying an integrated approach
Based on the analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the territory, as well as the potentials for development, priority areas for intervention are determined. They will focus on the implementation of the specific measures and activities envisaged in the Program. This includes the preparation, financing and implementation of key projects.
Part V. Implementation program
The program for implementation of the strategic document has an operational character and specifies the way, the practical measures, the investment activities and the project ideas for achieving the development goals. It must be developed on the basis of an integrated approach. Its horizon is seven years and can be updated periodically.
Part VI. Climate change mitigation and adaptation measures and disaster risk reduction
Adapting planning approaches to global warming will ensure the preservation of environmental comfort in urban areas and reduce the risks of natural disasters. This part of the Program will describe the relationship between the risks and problems identified in the analyzes, the formulated goals, priorities and measures for mitigating climate change, and for adapting to the changes that have already occurred. The basis for the proposals will be the Municipal Action Plan for Sustainable Energy and Climate, which is part of the commitment of Sofia Municipality under the Covenant of Mayors and is under development.
Part VII. Necessary actions and indicators for monitoring and evaluation of the Program
The system for monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the Program for Sofia aims to ensure its optimal implementation. The result is the achievement of integrated sustainable development and efficient use of resources for the implementation of the planned projects.
Part VIII. Preliminary assessment, according to the conditions of art. 32 of the Law for Regional Development
During the development of Program for Sofia, at the discretion of Sofia’ mayor, a preliminary assessment of its socio-economic impact on the development of the municipality may be performed, as well as an environmental assessment under the Environmental Protection Act.