1. Living Labs South-Central Region, Bulgaria

Contact: Ekaterina Arabska, earabska@uard.bg
University of Agribusiness and Rural Development, Plovdiv, Bulgaria.


1.1    Description of the area(s)

The territory of the South-Central Region encompasses five districts – Pazardzhik, Plovdiv, Smolyan, Haskovo, and Kardzhali. 
The region’s area is 22,307 sq. km, which represents almost a quarter of the country’s territory.
The structure of the territory is as follows: Agricultural land and forests make up 48.1% and 45.1% of the territory respectively, while urban areas account for 3.9% only. The South-Central region is one of the leading regions in the country in terms of biodiversity. Plovdiv is located on the banks of the Maritsa river, southeast of the Bulgarian capital Sofia. The city is in the southern part of the Plain of Plovdiv, an alluvial plain that forms the western portion of the Upper Thracian Plain. 


1.2 Sustainability issues related to the INVEST themes

a.    Water, Energy Food and Environment Nexus

  • The development of sustainable, smart agriculture; aquaculture and food security and safety
  • Climate proof for regional development
  • Energy transition 
  • Green energies
  • Natural and cultural heritage preservation 
  • Green urban and rural environment and quality infrastructure

b.    Quality of Life 

  • Inter-European citizenship 
  • Urban – rural relationship
  • Education and capacity building 
  • New systems of access to public services (social and healthcare services, education and training, culture and sports) and capacity building 
  • Security issues 
  • Migration issues 

c.    Entrepreneurship.

  • New business models and smart technologies
  • Family business and family business succession/inheritance
  • Regional sustainability driven capitalism and bio-based industries
  • Job creation and human capital management
  • Sustainable production and consumption and bio-based industries