Sofia City Branding, Placemaking and Urban Transformation: A Personal Account

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Offline Bipasha Matin

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Rinske Brand and Rozemarijn Stam of BRAND The Urban Agency with offices in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, Netherlands, in this guest post share their reflections on the city of Sofia in Bulgaria, its identity and “City DNA”.

Over the past year, we’ve had the pleasure to visit Sofia twice, and it continues to surprise us – for the better. Sofia is the oldest city in Europe, welcoming around a million visitors every year. This is modest, compared to the visitor numbers of cities like Bruges (8 million/year) and Amsterdam (18 million/year). But Sofia is a city in the making.

It seems as if there was never really a single shared vision guiding Sofia’s development, but efforts are being made to alter this. The city’s vision is set on ‘Sofia 2050’, a newly developed general strategy aimed at establishing an innovative, green and resilient Sofia by 2050. While implementing the new local development strategy, the city is also looking into repositioning itself – and in order to do that it needs to realise what it stands for, what connects its people and what makes them proud.

An initiative of PR firm United Partners, the Creative Lab on City Branding Sofia, for which we were invited, was held in October 2017. Together with a panel of young, innovative city makers and entrepreneurs, we discussed what is the DNA of Sofia. What typifies it?

Although ‘Sofia as a brand’ is still in its infancy, there is so much there to start building from. For us, three things stand out and are – in our opinion – crucial in the identity of this city (or even in any city): the city’s past, its symbols, and most of all: its people.

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Sabiha Matin Bipasha

Senior Lecturer
Department of Business Administration
Faculty of Business & Economics
Daffodil International University

Offline murshida

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