Sofia will host the General Assembly of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities in 2018. This forum will take place during Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. Over 500 representatives and experts from all over Europe are expected to participate. On behalf of Sofia’s Mayor Mrs. Yordanka Fandakova, the Capital City’s readiness to host this forum was presented by Deputy Mayor Doncho Barbalov during this year’s meeting of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, which took place in Brussels on 12 October.
The discussions during that forum were focused on the challenges and opportunities for the development of smart cities and communities. The results of the development of the Lighthouse Projects were also discussed. At present Sofia is a partner in the Smarter Together project, aiming at the improvement of the quality of life in the cities, by finding the proper balance between new technologies, the commitment of the citizens and the institutional governance. Munich, Lyon, Vienna, Venice, Santyago de Compostela are among the other cities, participating in Smarter Together are.
"Smart City" does not only mean digitalization. “The filling of online forms, archives digitalization and providing online access to such archives is merely the first step in turning a municipality into a Smart City.The main challenge is the analysing of this data and using it to develop systems, which will help people. To establish two-way communication“, Deputy Mayor Doncho Barbalov said during the forum.