In its centuries-long development, Sofia has always played an important role in the history of the Bulgarian lands, both as a centre and a natural intersection of the roads linking the East with the West, as well as the countries north of Bulgaria to that south of it. It is a unique city that is growing but does not get old, brightly looking to the future with more than 7 000 years of history. Sofia is located in the Sofia Valley with an altitude of about 550 meters on a territory of 1,311 sq. km, of which:
populated areas and urbanized territories occupy 245.5 sq. km,
agricultural land - 509 sq. km,
forest areas - 466.5 sq. km,
mining areas - 40.5 sq. km,
territories for transportation and infrastructure - 20.6 sq. km and
watercourses and water areas - about 40 sq. km.
The current population of Sofia municipality is 1,152,556, spread across 38 localities, including 4 cities: Sofia, Bankya, Buhovo and Novi Iskar.
Sofia municipality is exposed to a range of natural and anthropogenic hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquakes, extreme weather events (e.g., heat and cold waves, snowstorms), as well as potential transport, chemical, industrial and nuclear accidents. The level of risk associated with several of these hazards is expected to grow due to climate change and increasing levels of urbanization and industrial development. As noted in Bulgaria’s National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (2019), climate change is predicted to increase the frequency and intensity of weather-related hazards, thus further exacerbating the adverse effects of disasters on economic and social development. Because of this, disaster risk management (DRM) plays an important role in the sustainable development of the country and is among the priorities of the mayor of Sofia municipality and the government of Bulgaria.
Sofia Municipality was selected as a pìlot city since it exhibits Climate Change effects common to European cities. This will facilitate extending the results of HARMONIA to other settlements with similar characteristics and Climate Change requirements.
The HARMONIA project has received funding from the EU Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under agreement No. 101003517.