Global Goals Jam is a global initiative that takes place in 85 cities around the world, united by one cause – the realization of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for a better future. The event focuses on the theme of “Regenerative Cities” and seeks sustainable business models for products and services that create more value for the city, its resources and all its inhabitants.

As a partner, GATE participated with the technological expertise of six mentors – young researchers from the Institute. Together with experts from Sofiaplan, GATE researchers guided multidisciplinary teams (architects, designers, programmers, artists, entrepreneurs) on how to test their ideas for the development of Sofia in a short time using the process of design thinking to create innovations.

The event was hosted by Resonator – an innovative hub that brings together people with diverse professions and experiences to collaborate and create, providing them with a physical and virtual space with technological innovation, assistance and expertise.

The hackathon went through the process of design thinking, spanning from A to Z in the life of an idea. The first day was dedicated to meeting the participants and expert mentors, as well as announcing specific topics for work. Three of the UN’s sustainable development goals, namely sustainable cities and sustainable communities, responsible consumption and production, and action on climate change, formed the basis on which the three themes of the hackathon were built. Participants were challenged to find a solution to three key problems of the capital – “Wasted spaces” and ways to use them for the benefit of citizenship, “Active ageing” and how we can improve the lives of the elderly and “The city as an organism”, including the development of the urban ecosystem as a symbiosis of infrastructure, people and nature. The teams of participants were formed around these topics:

  • “Grandma’s children” working on the topic of “active ageing”;
  • “Sofia Wheel”, working on the topic “wasted spaces”;
  • “Messed up start”, working on the topic “the city as an organism”;

On the second day, they had to get to the heart of the problem, generate ideas and choose a favourite idea. The team of mentors from GATE interactively presented the project of the Institute for creating a digital twin of Sofia, including the development of a 3D model, simulations and analysis of air quality, parametric urban planning and extraction of information about the urban environment from photogrammetric data (satellite images, aerial photographs) and others.

The third day was dedicated to validating ideas by prototyping and testing solutions. The teams presented their ideas to a jury, which in addition to the mentors from GATE and Sofiaplan also included the hosts of the event Resonator and the representatives of the Sofia Municipal Agency for Privatization and Investment.

The participants were nominated in several categories such as the most ambitious idea, dream team and the idea with the greatest impact.

The teams received vouchers for using the Resonator shared innovation hub and ongoing mentoring for the development of their ideas by the mentors.