New Greenways for Old Railways

Shared concept for sustainable development of the railway area of Stochnа Gara and Gara Poduyane

GRADOSCOPE is the main coordinator of the project “New Greenways for Old Railways”, which seeks to bring together citizens, experts, businesses, and institutions in a shared discussion about the creation of a shared concept for the sustainable development of the terrains around Stochna Gara and Gara Poduyane – razpredelitelna.
As official partners of the New European Bauhaus initiative, we believe that sharing experience and open dialogue can catalyze the sustainable development and re-activation of disused urban terrains.

We are working on this project together with the Sofia Municipality and our partner Argus 01, in dialogue with the Ministry of Тransport, National Railway Infrastructure Company, and Bulgarian National Railways.

The initiative for the project “New Greenways for Old Railways” comes from the Chief Architect of Sofia Municipality – Zdravko Zdravkov and it aims to propose a plan for the possible redevelopment of the disused infrastructural terrains around Stochna Gara and Gara Poduyane-razpredelitelna, so that they can be reintroduced back into the active life of the city.

 

“The long-term urban development of Sofia Municipality is to develop as a compact city, so we can improve the quality of life and movement around the city”, says architect Zdravko Zdravkov about the project idea. “We can learn and get inspiration from numerous other European capitals that have successfully reintegrated their post-industrial terrains. Rail transport is by far the most ecological means of urban transport, but the terrains around the existing infrastructure must be better integrated into the urban environment. The terrains in question – from Stochna Gara to Gara Poduyane-razpredelitelna present a unique opportunity to be developed as new multifunctional spaces in the center of our city. This would help us tackle the social segregation between the poorer and the more well-developed areas of Sofia, which are separated exactly by the railway lines and the Vladayska River canal.”

Following this vision, the project “New Greenways for Old Railways” aims to inspire and unite the institutions, stakeholders, businesses, experts, and many students to work together on the creation of a shared and realistic vision for the redevelopment of the post-industrial terrains and railway infrastructure into modern and multifunctional spaces.

The project started earlier this year with an expert spatial analysis by the architects Pavel Yanchev and Teodora Stefanova from GRADOSCOPE and continued with an academic project between ETH Zürich, Università degli studi di Napoli, Politecnico di Milano and the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG).

During the international workshops, the architectural and urbanism students from all four universities examined projects in parallel with each other, related to the adaptive infrastructure, and all the universities focused on their respective local context. The project brings together students form five different departments from the Architecture Faculty of the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy. They work in a joint inter-disciplinary studio for the very first time, which coincides with the University’s 80th anniversary and which aims to develop an innovative concept for the reuse of the industrial terrains around Stochna Gara and Gara Poduyane. 

“First steps towards “New Greenways for Old Railways”

  1. Spatial analysis, prepared by the architects Pavel Yanchev and Teodora Stefanova.
  2. UACEG Studio (Workshop) –First joint inter-disciplinary studio on the topic of Adaptive Infrastructures in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Univeristy of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG). The studio’s focus is ideas for the future of the areas near the railway infrastructure. the 80th anniversary of the university in a joint workshop with the idea for the future of the area near the railway infrastructure
  3. “Station Sofia”– an event at the Stochna Gara building, which aims to introducie the student proposals from the UACEG Workshop and facilitate expert discussions for the possible green redevelopment of the railways.
  4. A final report, presenting the results and conclusions of the project process and the event at Stochna Gara and the proposal for the future steps in the initiative.

MAIN CONCLUSIONS

At the beginning of 2022, the architects Pavel Yanchev and Teodora Stefanova prepared an urban analysis of the areas near Stochna Gara and Poduyane – razpredelitelna, that reached the following main conclusions:

  • The long-term strategy of Sofia municipality Vision for Sofia sets the ambition of Sofia to play the role of a crossroad between main European transport corridors and railway connections, which will be of key importance in the future.
  • In Sofia,  comprehensive solutions for the city’s problems through the reuse of old industrial areas  are needed. 
  • Some of the already deactivated railway terrains in the examined areas should be removed and others should be activated again.
  • The terrains near the stations are well equipped to provide a nice residential environment.
  • The areas could be developed as multifunctional through the integration of the already existing industrial activity.
  • The central location of the terrain with a preserved river and nature in the center of the city could become the future multifunctional area of Sofia, providing a common space for creating, testing, and developing the innovative and green businesses of the future.

THE TERRAINS

The ”Station Sofia” event, which was held in the Stochna Gara building on 2 “Vladayska reka” St. on the 20th of June 2022, provoked representatives institutions and visitors to look through the terrains from Stochna Gara to Gara Poduyane, as areas full of potential. 

Through an interactive exhibition, concepts for the development of the terrains were introduced by the students of UACEG. The ideas were discussed with representatives of institutions, students, experts, and various business representatives.

THE EVENT “STATION SOFIA” –

THE CULMINATION OF THE PROJECT’S FIRST PHASE

The ”Station Sofia” event, which was held in the Stochna Gara building on 2 “Vladayska reka” St. on the 20th of June 2022, provoked representatives institutions and visitors to look through the terrains from Stochna Gara to Gara Poduyane, as areas full of potential. 

Through an interactive exhibition, concepts for the development of the terrains were introduced by the students of UACEG. The ideas were discussed with representatives of institutions, students, experts, and various business representatives.

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The day started with a guided walk with the students from the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy (UACEG), the international experts and lecturers Anna Nemeth, Martin Gielen, Bert Gellynck, and Freek Persyn around Stochna Gara and Gara Poduyane-razpredelitelna. Dr. arch. Ina Valkanova from GRADOSCOPE went through the local context with the guests and told them the story and facts about the terrains, that are being investigated in the project “New Greenways for Old Railways”. This was followed by three thematic workshops, which started the discussion about a shared concept of sustainable development of the terrains. The proposals of the students from UACEG served as a starting point, followed by  expert round tables, moderated by the GRADOSCOPE team.

The public program of the event started with a presentation of the projects and examples from the international experts, participating in similar projects. The event ended with a summary of the results from the process and an introduction of the possible future steps. Visitors had the possibility to look through the exhibition of students’ projects on the topic of “New Greenways for Old Railways” in the Stochna Gara building for the duration of one week.

Partners

Coordinator

ГРАДОСКОП

Client

Municipality of Sofia

Academic Partners

UACEG, ETH Zürich, Universita degli studi di Napoli, Politecnico di Milano

Corporation Partner

Argus 01

International Experts

ROTOR, Denkstatt, 1010 Architecture and urbanism и 51N4E