The discussion was held online on December 4th, 2020 and was organized by Forum Real – the largest forum for real estate, investment, construction and innovation with over 30,000 virtual visitors from all over Bulgaria.
The panellists expressed their views on a number of issues related to “smart” cities, innovation and investment in them, as well as their technological support. A hot topic was whether the pandemic opened up space for the development of the concept of “smart” cities.

At the very beginning of the discussion, Assoc. Prof. Petrova-Antonova defined the “smart” city as a city that uses the data it generates to make informed decisions. She emphasized that the pandemic stimulates the city’s digital transformation, as well as investment in smart solutions and the pursuit of digital inclusion. “Regardless of what technology we implement, the focus should be on the citizen, not on the technology itself,” said Assoc. Prof. Petrova-Antonova.

She presented the pilot flagship project of the GATE Institute “City Digital Twin” as part of the strategy for the digital transformation of Sofia and explained that it was implemented with the support of Sofia Municipality, with which GATE had signed a cooperation agreement. She stressed upon the benefits of the project for improving urban planning and the cooperation with the municipal enterprise “Sofiaplan” in the implementation of a tool for parametric planning.

The general opinion of the panellists was that the “smart” city works for the benefit of citizens and in the coming years we will see an increase in digital services, which are based on the continuous collection and use of data for smart decision-making. In turn, the pandemic is a driving force for these processes.