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New open-source urban data repository makes Sofia a ‘smarter’ city

New open-source urban data repository makes Sofia a ‘smarter’ city

Sofiaplan, a municipal enterprise working on the city’s new Urban Masterplan, provides free versions of their raw data, pushing for transparency and a broader conversation about the future of Bulgaria’s capital

Today, Sofia became a ‘smarter’ city, as the municipal enterprise tasked with creating the long-term urban masterplan until 2050, Sofiaplan, decided to release nearly all of their collected data and research. The data is machine-readable, freely available and can be used for scientific analysis, policymaking, business or journalism.

Sofiaplan has published a total of 399 data sets, analyses and projects they used to create the masterplan. This move effectively democratises their work and provides a solid layer of transparency to every proposition they make. At the same time, the data offers a fast, modern and efficient way to process and use information about the city’s multifaceted environment.

The only semi-condition from the municipal enterprise is that people share their research with them, in order to better the researchers' work on the city’s future.

An informed perspective

The enterprise published all the data they collected, with the exception of the research that had explicit rules preventing it. They have information collected through drone flights around the city, information on public transport stops, air quality, street and pedestrian network and archaeological immovable cultural spots.

The data also includes lists of areas at risk of flooding, various analyses on pedestrian accessibility, engineering infrastructure networks, parks and gardens, as well as urban rivers and mineral water sources. It also lists public buildings and services like community centres, schools, kindergartens, sports facilities and playgrounds. It also provides information on the concentration of social services by urban units, distribution of residents with interrupted health insurance rights and much more.

All the data is published through an application programming interface and is available through a ‘Sofiaplan’ license. At the same time, users can take advantage of the Geographic Information System (GIS) to download geographic data sets and maps of Sofia with informational overlays.  

Hard at work

Sofiaplan, previously called Sofproekt, has been working on key projects for the future development of the city. Those are ‘Vision for Sofia’ – the long-term development strategy for the city, ‘Plan of Sofia’ – the urban masterplan for the city and ‘Program for Sofia’ – the Integrated Municipal Development Plan for the period 2021-2027.

The municipal company also develops plans, strategies and policies for the sustainable development of the city. Some of the key principles behind their work are offering maximum transparency while encouraging the maximal cooperation between authorities and citizens, as well as with businesses, researchers and non-profit organisations.

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