Area characterisation

Burgas Municipality is the largest municipality located in southeastern Bulgaria with a territory of  514,362 hectares, representing 0.43% of the country. The municipality is bordered to the east by the Black Sea, to the north - Pomorie Municipality, west - Kameno Municipality and south - Municipality of Sozopol. The Eastern boundary is a prerequisite for the development of port work, fishing, tourism, foreign trade, for concentration of productions and industries that rely on imported materials. Surrounded by three firth lakes - Burgas, Mandra and Atanasovsko and with a width of 10-12.5 km and a water depth of 10-12 m, Burgas bay forms the most extensive part of the Bulgarian Black Sea coastline. The availability of natural resources such as nature reserves, protected areas and natural attractions determine the wide biodiversity in the municipality, which is an important factor and condition for development of tourism and other economic and non-profit activities, stimulating small and medium business and development of the labor market. Due to favorable natural and economic conditions, a significant part of the population and economic potentials are concentrated in Burgas Municipality.

The geographical location of the city greatly influences its development. The Black Sea and the three large lakes on the territory of the city form the Burgas wetlands and logically place the protection of the environment and the development of the green system of the city and the implementation of the NBS among the development priorities. The city of Burgas has a large number and different in size parks and green spaces. Over the years, the administration managed to renovate all major parks in the city, providing safe conditions for recreation, play, entertainment, sports etc. for visitors. Under the pressure of the citizens of Burgas, the local administration pays more and more attention to the green spaces and the implementation of green solutions in the urban environment.

Objective

The development and maintenance of the green system on the territory of the municipality of Burgas is a main task and priority of the local administration. Over the years, most of the main green areas in the city have been renovated, incl. the sea garden, parks in the residential complexes, under construction is a new recreation area connecting the sea garden with Sarafovo residential area.

Along with the reconstruction and improvement of the park spaces, Burgas Municipality is actively working on the maintenance of the urban green system. Periodic inventory of plant species is carried out, and if necessary, old trees, which were found to be unsuitable for the urban environment are replaced with new species.

At the moment, Saint Trinity Park is the only larger park area in the city that is neglected and unable to perform its functions.

With the support of the Connecting Nature project, Burgas Municipality wants to restore the "shine" of the park and during the process (from planning to implementation) the developed Connecting nature framework will be used.

Actions

The analysis of the condition of the territory and the existing technical infrastructure determines the prerequisites for future upgrading and development of the area.

Field characteristics. The relief configuration of the park is flat, with a small displacement on the east side of the park, connection with Struga Blvd., which makes it suitable for the development of different function areas related to passive recreation, entertainment and social contacts. Most of the terrains are not leveled, which hinders their quality maintenance and are full of self-settled wood and shrub vegetation, household and organic waste, which requires gradual steps to make them look good and safe for residents, which at the same time will improve the conditions and facilitate their maintenance.

Alley network. The existing alley network is poorly developed and consists of:

• Main ground pedestrian approach to the Horseman monument from the intersection of Stefan Stambolov Blvd. and Lazar Madjarov Str.;

• Quick access to the public transport stop and University hospital Burgas, through an underpass on Stefan Stambolov Blvd .;

• Pedestrian access to Church "St. Trinity ";

• Natural pedestrian alleys, established over time and paved by people.

The existing alley network is currently depreciated, which hinders access and attendance. With the exception of the alleys in the northern part of the park, which are used for connection between the residential area Slaveykov and the bus stop on Stefan Stambolov Blvd., the alley network is chaotic, without clear connections and accents.

Existing vegetation. The existing large-sized tree vegetation is over 40 years old. The predominant existing vegetation is represented mainly by deciduous species: Acer platanoides, Acer pseudoplatanus, Acer campestre, Fraxinus excelsior, Fraxinus ornus, Robinia pseudoacacia, Sophora japonica, Tilia sp., Platanus orientalis, Ulmus sp., Celtis australis, Quercus rubra, Sorbus torminalis, Sorbus aucuparia, Catalpa sp., Aesculus hippocastanum, Betula pendula, Cercis siliquastrum, etc. Of the coniferous trees predominate Cupressus sempervirens, Thuja orientalis, Cedrus sp., Taxus baccata, Picea abies, Picea pungens, Abies sp., Juniperus virginiana and others.

The following negative trends have been observed in the last few decades:

• lack of systematic care, turning green areas into those with overgrown vegetation, unattractive to use and practically unusable;

• lack of measures regarding the overall development of the park, as well as planning and synchronization in the maintenance of green areas;

• Lack of variability and innovative solutions in the planning and implementation of specific measures for landscaping of the park, due to the outflow of specialists specialized in the development of green infrastructure in general;

• depreciated recreation infrastructure with a clear need for constant commitment to its maintenance and renovation;

• Lack of a comprehensive digital information base, including geo-based, for green areas, their elements and their characteristics, which would provide correct, complete and with the ability to filter, analyze and update information for professional and public use;

• reduction of the volume of the types of works necessary for the maintenance of the green areas, due to lack of financial resources;

• Insufficient resources and inconsistency of efforts, which leads to unsatisfactory general condition of green infrastructure, which reflects on the other elements of the development of the urban environment.

DIAGNOSIS. MAIN PROBLEMS

Despite its central location between large residential complexes, the park is not well integrated into the urban landscape and does not serve as an area for daily recreation and entertainment. To some extent, this is due to the gloomy heritage of the park known by its nickname "Old Cemetery", but to a greater extent the problem is rooted in the outdated park development plan, poor maintenance and poor connections of the park with the residential areas around it. Restricters for the development of the park in the urban sense are the busy city boulevards and railways, the line that frames the park and makes it difficult for citizens to access. The lack of suitable "anchors" in the park further aggravates its socialization with residents and guests of the city.

After the detailed research and analysis of the territory, the main problems of the park stand out, which should be addressed with the present development:

  • Bad reputation in the territory
  • Weak connection with the residential areas located north and east of the park (Zornitsa and Bratya Miladinovi)
  • Deteriorated condition of the existing park infrastructure - depreciated and not well developed alley network, depreciated park furniture, poor condition of the landscaped terrains, grass, bush and tree vegetation.
  • Lack of attractive architectural and landscape environment to attract and retain visitors to the park
  • Poor provision with technical infrastructure - lack of irrigation system for maintenance of green areas and site sewerage for sewage, compromised park lighting and insufficient power of the existing electricity supply

At the same time, regardless of the current state of the park, it is visited daily by residents of surrounding residential neighborhoods of all ages, which is proof that the location of the park favors the creation and maintenance of high quality park environment and achieving sustainable functional connection of the natural and planned elements of the green system, so that the functioning of the green infrastructure provides multifaceted benefits for people and continuously improves the quality of life, while preserving and developing the benefits of the existing environment.

Along with the general zoning, the exampler needs to offer a solution to the engineering infrastructure of the territory as a whole. It is important to solve and categorize the main approaches and alley routes that form the backbone of the park composition. Measures should be provided to attract visitors by providing opportunities for recreation and enetertainment of different social groups - children and young people, mothers with young children, the elderly and disadvantaged people. To effectively cover the entire range of functions, with even structuring and loading of the areas for passive and active recreation in the park.

FORECAST FOR DEVELOPMENT AND PURPOSE OF THE INTERVENTION

 After analyzing the main problems of the developed area and making diagnosis, the improvement of the physical environment stands out as a main priority for future development of the park. The project intervention should justify measures that will increase the perception of the comfort of living in the park space, increase attendance and increase the importance of the park for local citizens and guests of the city, for social and cultural life, to improve the image of the park and its transformation into an attractive area for different age groups.

Specific objectives to be achieved:

• Creation of shared public spaces and implementation of innovative solutions to improve the physical environment of the park.

• Creating conditions for the integration of disadvantaged groups

• Preserve and enrich the biodiversity in the park;

• Increasing the safety and security of the park environment;

• Creating a renewed urban environment by introducing innovative "Smart City" solutions;

• Digitization of the information about the reconstructed territory and its publication in the existing integrated intelligent systems of the municipality of Burgas (GIS Burgas, Smart Burgas, VR Burgas and others) for use by experts and citizens, through provided public access. Digital marketing, as an innovative approach, would strengthen the public interest in the territory and the new social functions in the areas of intervention.

Step 3: Feed understanding into design, delivery, and stewardship.

The concept for renovation of Saint Trinity Park is developed by municipal specialists with the necessary qualifications and experience. This approach was chosen because the park is municipal property and the local administration has all the information about the site, incl. condition of the infrastructure, underground communications, assessment of the health of the vegetation, as well as deep knowledge of the problems of the area due to the maintenance it provides over the years, as well as the signals and complaints received from citizens about the unsatisfactory condition of the park.

The concept for development of the area is based not only on its social functions, but also environmental and economic requirements. Of vital importance is the requirement that the reconstruction and improvement of space must be performed in a way that not only to preserves but also enriches biodiversity. Another basic principle that is advocated is the economic viability of the site, providing an opportunity for the site to generate revenue to support subsequent maintenance.

The park is included in the Plan for integrated development of the city of Burgas for the period 2021-2027. This is the main strategic document for the development of Burgas Municipality in the next 7 years. The sites and project included in it will be financed under the European Regional Development Fund, through the Regional Development Program 2021-2027, financial instruments and own funds of Burgas Municipality.

Step 4: Iterative monitoring and evaluation

During the physical implementation of all municipal projects constant construction, investment and author's supervision is applies, which ensures that the activities provided for in the technical design are performed correctly and qualitatively. In case it is determined that some of the envisaged design solutions are not suitable for implementation, there is a possibility for their change / replacement after consent of the interested parties, incl. investor, designer and construction supervision.

Burgas Municipality is responsible for the management and maintenance of the parks on the territory of the city. It will continue to be responsible for the management and administration of the Saint Trinity Park after the renovation.

On the other hand, the local administration actively partners with representatives of cultural, sports, educational and other institutions in organizing joint events. This approach of work will continue to be applied and upgraded in the organization and holding of various events and initiatives in the park.

Potential impacts/benefits

Within Connecting Nature park after consultations with municipal departments, stakeholders and project partners, we decided our exampler to be Park “Saint Trinity”.

Park “Saint Trinity” is one of the biggest parks in Burgas. It is located in the heart of the city in densely populated area. It is surrounded by three neighbourhoods, the biggest hospital in the region and an area, which is of great interest to investors for establishing another neighbourhood with living and office buildings.

Through the development of our exampler we strive to achieve the following city golas:

1. Improve the process of interaction between local government and stakeholders in planning, implementation and management of high-impact projects.

2. Improve the condition of the green system and green spaces in the city.

3. Strengthen the connections between the separate green spaces on the territory of the city of Burgas.

4. Make NBS an integral part of the implementation of each project in the municipality.

• Describe the main aims, benefits and cobenefits of your exemplar.

Our aims are:

- bring back the popularity of abondened green space;

- turn the park into a popular place for spending time outside with family and friends;

- keep the feeling of wild nature;

- keep and enrich the biodiversity.

The renovation of “Saint Trinity“park will have multiple benefits, including social, environmental and economic.

Environmental benefits:

The park plays an important role in the green system of the city. As there haven’t been any serious infrastructure works on its territory, the vegetation was free to grow and develop. Trees there have a full capacity to purify the air, provide shade and tackle the “heat island” effect, because of the dense infrastructure around the park. The role of the vegetation in the park is also connected with limiting floods, caused by heavy rains. The park is a habitat of different birds and animal species. Through the replacement of ill vegetation, the area will preserve its important environmental role for the city.

 Social benefits:

As already mentioned the park is situated in a heavy populated area. Roughly more than 20 000 people are living, working or visiting the institutions and facilities (hospital, offices, shops, sport facility centre) surrounding it.

The park has a great potential to become the favourite place for people. The social benefits from its reconstruction are:

- Place for walks and leisure activities;

- Place for physical activities (yoga, jogging, roller blades, skateboard, street fitness, etc.);

- Educational activities (open classrooms, seminars);

- Recreation and rehabilitation- as park is in close proximity to the largest hospital in the region, its area could turn to a preferred place for visit by patients;

- Religious meetings- within the area of the park, there is an operational church. After the reconstruction of the park, the church could use the territory for different religious and charity initiatives;

- Entertainment- parts of the park will be used for organisation of small festivals, concerts and performances.

 Economic benefits:

The economic benefit from the implementation of the planned activities will result in several directions:

- Increase of the price of the property around the park;

- make the territory even more attractive for investors;

- turn the area into a preferred place to live and work;

The increase of private investments in the region will result in more taxes paid to the local authority.

- construct advertising areas around and within the park and rent them to companies;

- rent areas of the park for private events;

- construct small commercial area with small shops and coffees;

These places will be rented and the income will be used for maintaining the park.

- some of the territories of the park will be leased to nature based enterprises. They will have to present a concept for the development of the area they are responsible for and after the approval of the city, implement it. These areas will be demonstration areas of the private companies, where they will have the chance to show to the public, their expertise and innovations. The responsibilities of these companies will be to maintain their areas in perfect condition.

Thus, the local authority will save resources for investment and maintenance, as well as encourage the exposition of unique elements in urban area. Companies will not be allowed to construct heavy infrastructure in the park. They will have to use only natural materials and resources to implement their projects.    

• How does the exemplar connect to and deliver on existing urban agendas?

Green areas are in the focus of local administration for years. Saint Trinity Park is the last big urban green area, which is not renovated and is logically considered as a priority project for implementation.

• What makes your nature-based solutions’ strategy legally binding, e.g. by connecting it to existing policy plans?

Project is in full compliance with the strategic documents of the local authority:

- Burgas Municipality Development Plan 2014 - 2020 - Plan for integrated development of city of Burgas 2021-2027

The following priorities are immutable part of city’s strategic documents:

- Protect the environment and biodiversity;

- Adapt to climate change;

- Establishment and maintenance of the city’s green ecosystem.

The expampler is in full compliance with the above mentioned priorities as it will enrich the green system and contribute to biodiversity and environmental protection, as well as support our efforts to adopt the territory and our lives to climate change.

NBS benefits

  • Developing climate change adaptation; improving risk management and resilience
  • Restoring ecosystems and their functions
  • Enhancing sustainable urbanisation
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