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Cityscapes Remote Team

Mike Rivers of the Cityscapes Team’s graphics and marketing department has been on the road for a few months now.  He is traveling with a group of remote professionals, often referred to as ‘digital nomads’ with a program called Remote Year.   You can find more info on Mike and his first stop on the trip here.

Mike’s second destination in the four-month program was Sofia, Bulgaria for the month of September.

What is Sofia like?

Sofia is an amazing Eastern European city buried in the mountains of one of the most lush countries in the northern hemisphere.  Sofia has a somewhat raw feel in many parts of the city with it’s old communist architectural style buildings and crumbling sidewalks and roadways.  Despite looking a bit rougher than the typical well-groomed cities of Western Europe, the people there are incredibly friendly and Sofia is a safe city to visit as a traveler or tourist.

What does Sofia, Bulgaria have to do with corporate plantscapes?

First, it is important to recognize that the city of Sofia is located at the foot of the Balkan Mountain Range.  These mountains are incredibly lush with endless green stretching in every direction.  The Bulgarians are well aware of the importance of fresh air and nature in their everyday lives.

Sofia is a city where the people absolutely admire nature and completely understand their innate connection to it.  The entire city feels as though it were built with the outdoors at the forefront of the master planning at every step.  In addition to access to beautiful hikes at mountains like Vitosha, the city has countless parks and nearly every restaurant has an outdoor seating option.  When it’s warm, these parks are bustling with people of all ages at nearly all hours of the day.  Sofia still has cold winters but it is still hard to keep the community from spending time at outdoor concerts and strolling through the open spaces.

They may not call it ‘biophilia’ but every Bulgarian seems to understand how important it is to be interacting with nature every day.  Many restaurants’ indoor seating areas are as naturally lit as possible with indoor plants filling every windowsill and every corner of every room.  These are just a few photos of the mountains, parks, city streets, and cafes:

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What Can We Learn from Sofia?

Maybe one lesson would be to shut our TV’s off and get outside whenever we can.  Even in the winter.  Fresh air and nature does the body and mind a whole lot of good.

Another take away could be in design.  People naturally desire to sit in open outdoor spaces or at least near natural lighting, large windows, gardens, or plants. Also people tend to stay a bit longer in places that offer these things.  For businesses that often means more money spent at their establishments.  It also means that people are having a subconsciously pleasant experience to some degree whenever nature or plants are around.

Perhaps the parks and overwhelming abundance of nature is directly related to Sofia being a safe, relaxed, friendly city in eastern Europe, not to mention a beautiful city.  Many people have never even heard of Sofia and most would probably never even consider traveling there.  But maybe it’s time Sofia got a second look.

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