Zlatni Pyasatsi, Bulgaria
Zlatni Pyasatsi, Bulgaria

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Slaev A.D.,Varna Free University | Nedovic-Budic Z.,University College Dublin | Nedovic-Budic Z.,University of Illinois at Chicago
Sustainability (Switzerland) | Year: 2017

In this paper, we explore how master planning promotes and implements particular urban development patterns and, more generally, contributes to sustainability. Our goal is to understand the link between urban growth intentions articulated through the master planning process and realisation of its specific forms, e.g., monocentric or polycentric, compact or dispersed. As a case study, we examine the current General Urban Development Plan (GUDP) of the Bulgarian capital Sofia against the city's actual development pattern. We observe that the primary goals of the GUDP are to promote a polycentric urban structure and low-density expansion, as well as preserve green edges. While the question of whether and how these goals reflect the sustainability ideal requires further consideration, there are some indications that Sofia's GUDP may not be effective in encouraging sustainable forms of growth. Substantial inconsistencies exist between the plan's overall goals and some of its measures and implementation tools. The results on the ground suggest that, despite the plan's low-density aspirations, Sofia is becoming more compact and densified, while losing its green edges and failing to redirect growth to its northern territories where ample space and opportunities exist. We conclude that employing the achievements of research on sustainability and developing relevant implementation tools such as more effective zoning regulations and viable suburban transportation infrastructure are necessary for realising both the patterns proposed through master planning and achieving sustainable urban growth. © 2017 by the authors.


Anderson J.,Northumbria University | Slaev A.,Varna Free University | Slaev A.,University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy
Journal of Architectural and Planning Research | Year: 2012

This paper evaluates the performance of Bulgarian planning in the tourism sector during the country's transformation from a state-run, socialist economy to a capitalist democracy over the last 20 years. Specifically, it explores whether planning objectives related to tourism were achieved. By analyzing data on the development of the tourism sector and the content of plans, the paper argues that planning objectives remained unmet; in fact, development on the ground often contradicted the objectives directly. The reason for this disconnect is that most plans included few implementation mechanisms. The tourism sector developed in the wake of market forces, which often pushed it in the opposite direction of the planning visions. The paper demonstrates that planners in post-socialist contexts, at least in Bulgaria, have failed to engage markets in a constructive way. Copyright © 2012, Locke Science Publishing Company, Inc. Chicago, IL, USA All Rights Reserved.


Grant
Agency: European Commission | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: ENV.2011.2.1.5-1 | Award Amount: 8.94M | Year: 2011

The TURaS project aims to bring together urban communities, researchers, local authorities and SMEs to research, develop, demonstrate and disseminate transition strategies and scenarios to enable European cities and their rural interfaces to build vitally-needed resilience in the face of significant sustainability challenges. To ensure maximum impact, the TURaS project has developed an innovative twinning approach bringing together decision makers in local authorities with SMEs and academics to ensure meaningful results and real change are implemented over the duration of the project. 11 local authorities or local development agencies are involved as partners in the project and they will orient research and development from the outset towards the priority sustainability and resilience challenges facing their cities. 9 leading academic research institutions and 6 SMEs will work with these cities helping them to reduce their urban ecological footprint through proposing new visions, feasiblity strategies, spatial scenarios and guidance tools to help cities address these challenges. The specific challenges addressed in TURaS include: climate change adaptation and mitigation; natural resource shortage and unprecedented urban growth. Over the five year duration of the project, the feasibility of these new approaches will be tested in selected case study neighbourhoods and new measures to enable adaptive governance, collaborative decision-making, and behavioural change towards resilient and sustainable European cities will be tested. The impact of these new approaches will be measured and results compared between participating cities before a final set of strategies and tools will be developed for demonstration, dissemination and exploitation in other European cities. SMEs are highly involved in all work packages of the project and specific measures have been put in place to ensure the optimal economic impact of the project is achieved.


Bakardjieva T.,Varna Free University
World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology | Year: 2011

In this paper an open agent-based modular framework for personalized and adaptive curriculum generation in e-learning environment is proposed. Agent-based approaches offer several potential advantages over alternative approaches. Agent-based systems exhibit high levels of flexibility and robustness in dynamic or unpredictable environments by virtue of their intrinsic autonomy. The presented framework enables integration of different types of expert agents, various kinds of learning objects and user modeling techniques. It creates possibilities for adaptive e-learning process. The KM e-learning system is in a process of implementation in Varna Free University and will be used for supporting the educational process at the University.


Slaev A.D.,Varna Free University | Nikiforov I.,Varna Free University
Spatium | Year: 2013

Urban sprawl has become a topical urban issue first in North America and later in Western Europe. It turned into a major challenge to urban sustainability. However, sprawl in Western Europe has displayed many specific features different than that in North America and these features are related to the concrete circumstances in the two continents. The social, economic and urban situation in the new European democracies is also quite different and this inevitably has its impact on the forms of sprawl. One of the main characteristics of sprawl is that it is considered to be market-led. More precisely, a major factor is the lack of balance between market trends and planning policy that allows for the market players to determine the use of their plots in suburban locations with little reference to the public interests and issues of sustainability. As the countries in Eastern and South-eastern Europe have already made certain progress on their way to market society, the problems of sprawl were faced in these countries too. The goal of the paper is to apply widely accepted definitions of sprawl to the processes in the suburbs of Sofia and, thus, to assess whether these are processes of sprawl. It also aims to study the specific traditions and residential preferences of Sofia's population in order to identify specific characteristics and aspects of the Bulgarian model. The findings of the paper confirm that Bulgaria's capital Sofia is experiencing processes of urban sprawl, particularly in its southern suburban areas - in the foot of Vitosha Mountain. Next, these processes display strong regional characteristics. So far sprawl in Bulgaria is less intensive than that in Western Europe but also than that in the post-socialist countries in Central Europe and in Baltic states. Eventually, the urban forms of Bulgarian sprawl tend to be denser and with mix of single-family and multi-family residential types and mix of land uses.


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