Placemaking Taking Off in Sofia, Bulgaria

Citizens and professionals are shifting their focus

As we gear up for this continued effort, one thing becomes clear: The people of Sofia are ready to make a better city for themselves — not an imitation of other European capitals, but an authentically Bulgarian great place.

Back in 2011, Elena Madison returned to her hometown, Sofia, and wrote about her city’s transformation. Her observations from 4 years ago are still relevant today, as civil society is becoming more vibrant and new social institutions are becoming more robust. 

Following the country’s communist era, urban development and public policy focused on ‘big’ infrastructure and public spaces and parks were deemed unnecessary, a ‘fluffy’ amenity. With stabilization comes a growing awareness among Bulgarian citizens of the importance of public spaces of their potential to influence the shape and livability of their city. People are increasingly aware of the unlocked potential of their city’s public spaces and grow more confident in taking ownership of these places to make them better.

Read Elena Madison’s full article for Project for Publics Spaces here.

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