### abstract

- We showed that the principle of nongravitating vacuum energy, when formulated in the first order formalism, solves the cosmological constant problem. The most appealing formulation of the theory displays a local symmetry associated with the arbitrariness of the measure of integration. This can be motivated by thinking of this theory as a direct coupling of physical degrees of freedom with a "space - filling brane" and in this case such local symmetry is related to space-filling brane gauge invariance. The model is formulated in the first order formalism using the metric and the connection as independent dynamical variables. An additional symmetry (Einstein - Kaufman symmetry) allows to eliminate the torsion which appears due to the introduction of the new measure of integration. The most successful model that implements these ideas is realized in a six or higher dimensional space-time. The compactification of extra dimensions into a sphere gives the possibility of generating scalar masses and potentials, gauge fields and fermionic masses. It turns out that remaining four dimensional space-time must have effective zero cosmological constant.