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Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 15; doi:10.3390/su9010015

The Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Development: The Case of Sofia’s Master Plan

1
Faculty of Architecture, Varna Free University, Varna 9007, Bulgaria
2
School of Architecture, Planning & Environmental Policy, University College Dublin, Dublin 14, Ireland
3
Department of Urban Planning and Policy, University of Illinois, Chicago, IL 60607, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Patricia Romero-Lankao, Olga Wilhelmi and Mary Hayden
Received: 16 June 2016 / Revised: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 8 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resilience and Urban Sustainability: From Research to Practice)
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Abstract

In this paper, we explore how master planning promotes and implements particular urban development patterns and, more generally, contributes to sustainability. Our goal is to understand the link between urban growth intentions articulated through the master planning process and realisation of its specific forms, e.g., monocentric or polycentric, compact or dispersed. As a case study, we examine the current General Urban Development Plan (GUDP) of the Bulgarian capital Sofia against the city’s actual development pattern. We observe that the primary goals of the GUDP are to promote a polycentric urban structure and low-density expansion, as well as preserve green edges. While the question of whether and how these goals reflect the sustainability ideal requires further consideration, there are some indications that Sofia’s GUDP may not be effective in encouraging sustainable forms of growth. Substantial inconsistencies exist between the plan’s overall goals and some of its measures and implementation tools. The results on the ground suggest that, despite the plan’s low-density aspirations, Sofia is becoming more compact and densified, while losing its green edges and failing to redirect growth to its northern territories where ample space and opportunities exist. We conclude that employing the achievements of research on sustainability and developing relevant implementation tools such as more effective zoning regulations and viable suburban transportation infrastructure are necessary for realising both the patterns proposed through master planning and achieving sustainable urban growth. View Full-Text
Keywords: efficiency of planning; sustainable forms of urban growth; polycentric urban development; suburbanisation in Southeastern Europe; instruments of urban planning efficiency of planning; sustainable forms of urban growth; polycentric urban development; suburbanisation in Southeastern Europe; instruments of urban planning
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MDPI and ACS Style

Slaev, A.D.; Nedovic-Budic, Z. The Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Development: The Case of Sofia’s Master Plan. Sustainability 2017, 9, 15.

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