The green ring of Sofia  

In most large cities, there are spaces that have lost their original purpose, are not fully used and are inhospitable to citizens. In recent years, there are many examples of successful regeneration of such areas, which change the urban environment and improve the quality of life. Among the good models are The Promenade Plantée in Paris, Hatachana in Tel Aviv, Nordbahntrasse in Wuppertal, The Atlanta Beltline in Atlanta, Scali Milano in Milan, The Bloomingdale Trail  in Chicago, High Line Park in New York and many others. Sofia also has over 20 km of unused railway infrastructure, including adjacent spaces, buildings and former stations. The old railway lines, which are difficult, unprofitable or even impossible to re-integrate into the city's transport network, have the potential to become a green multifunctional space that includes the surrounding neighborhoods and is a center of attraction for Sofia residents and guests. 

Green Line Sofia is an initiative for the adaptation of abandoned spaces and unused railways in a new infrastructure to connect the urban environment. The aim is to create a linear park along the old railway routes, the existing and future bicycle and park alleys around the center of Sofia. Thus, will be formed a 32 km green highway that connects the central and peripheral neighborhoods, large parks and gardens, as well as many cultural and sports sites. It will be used for alternative modes of transport, walking, recreation and tourism, as well as a platform for cultural, sports and educational events. The Green Ring will provide unobstructed bicycle and pedestrian access between neighborhoods through overground and above/underground passage of streets and boulevards. The new multifunctional and communicative space will stimulate active movement in the city and will create a favorable environment for future investments in the currently unattractive areas within the scope of the route.

Source: Green Line Sofia

The initiative for the creation of the Green Ring belongs to the architects Svetoslav Alexandrov and Hristiana Vasileva. They work in cooperation with the team of Sofiaplan, which supports the development of the concept. The municipal enterprise coordinates and consults the process, conducting various and detailed urban studies of the possibilities for realization.

The first phase of the work process includes a comprehensive analysis of the route of the future linear park in terms of ownership, construction, demography, pedestrian accessibility, connections with bike paths, trees and more. The information from the study will be summarized in an online map to serve the Sofia Municipality in the implementation of the concept. The map will be supplemented and upgraded with information in the next stages of the research.

During the second phase, a detailed study of the individual sections forming the route of the Green Ring will be entered. The team will analyze the needs of the population living near the individual areas, their structural provision, the technical difficulties in implementing the concept and others.

The next stage is the development of a detailed concept for the development of the linear park. It should include a plan-program, which should offer stages in the construction of the individual sections of the green highway. The concept will be created according to a task developed by the team of Sofiaplan.

The Sofia Municipality plans to start the realization with the construction of bicycle route from Todor Kableshkov to the Pioner station, for which a Detailed Development Plan has already been adopted. The section is part of a bicycle route with a larger scope, studied and developed as a detailed development scheme by the team of Sofiaplan yet in 2016 in connection with the overall concept for the development of the bicycle network in the General Development Plan of Sofia Municipality.

Vizualizations: Green Line Sofia

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