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Authors A. Kovachev, A.D. Slaev, Y. Lyubenov,Varna Free University “Chernorizets Hrabar”, Varna, Bulgaria

In this paper we investigate the ability of the current master plan of Sofia to implement a polycentric structure of urban development. Like most large cities over the world, Sofia is growing and like most cities in Europe (e.g., Paris Moscow, Stuttgart, Milan, and many others) Sofia is suburbanizing. The form of growth/expansion is an essential issue for a master plan. Generally, three forms of growth are discussed most often by planners: monocentric, polycentric and dispersed (the latter is usually termed sprawl). Whereas the positions of planners regarding monocentric development are often contradicting, i.e., many planners are critical of this urban form, but others emphasize its advantages, the positions regarding sprawl and polycentricity are relatively more established. The critical attitude towards sprawl (i.e., dispersed development) is popular among most professionals, while the vast majority of planners consider polycentricity a beneficial form of growth. The General Urban Development Plan (GUDP) of Sofia, prepared between 1998 and 2003, adopted in 2007, aims to develop a polycentric urban system. Its purpose is to establish a proper balance between the development of central city areas and suburban territories. The main research question of this research is: is the GUDP of Sofia able to neutralize the threats of sprawled (dispersed) development by promoting polycentric urban form?

Keywords: urban growth, urban development forms, polycentrism, efficiency of planning, sustainable urban growth
article Article

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