Vitoria-Gasteiz takes the first steps towards renaturing the medieval quarter and various school playgrounds


The Environmental Studies Centre of Vitoria-Gasteiz is launching various green infrastructure actions in the city, with the dual aim of facilitating adaptation to climate change and involving the public.

The LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project supports renaturing processes of medieval quarters and school playgrounds with nature-based solutions, carrying out pre- and post-implementation modelling exercises to predict their effectiveness.

Vitoria-Gasteiz continues to make progress on its path towards adapting to climate change and its effects. Among the initiatives launched in the capital city of Alava, Vitoria-Gasteiz City Council has begun the process of renaturing the medieval quarter and various school playgrounds through the Centre for Environmental Studies (CEA by its Spanish acronym). These actions are in line with Urban Green Strategy and Vitoria-Gasteiz's climate policies.

Moreover, the modelling of the actions to assess the best solutions to implement is part of the LIFE IP Urban Klima 2050 project. Specifically, Tecnalia will model thermal comfort in the widening of the meeting point of Calle Correría with the Cantón de Las Carnicerías in the medieval quarter. It will also model thermal comfort and improvement in surface runoff in the playground of the Luis Elejalde/Rogelia de Álvaro Public School, as possible areas for transformation.

Actions that the CEA has implemented so far include:

Renaturing school playgrounds

In 2022, the CEA transformed three school playgrounds using nature-based solutions to adapt them to climate change, create nature classrooms and make them more inclusive. This adaptation has incorporated criteria of sustainability, inclusivity and co-education, with the intention of scaling them up to all publicly-owned infant and primary schools in Vitoria-Gasteiz.


 Renaturing the medieval quarter

The first steps have also been taken to renature the city’s medieval quarter, the first work of this kind in the city that raises possibilities for carrying out other green infrastructure actions in the coming years.


Following a study of the situation and a technical analysis of the conditioning factors, 55 spaces have been identified that could be renatured: street corners, squares, streets and sections of streets, façades with and without activities, enclosures, small spaces for intervention, buildings for public use and complementary elements, street furniture, courtyards, playgrounds and plots of land, and paving. At the same time, a participatory process has been carried out with the neighbourhood and neighbourhood associations to present the results of the study, gather contributions and develop co-management systems to subsequently maintain these spaces. The results of this analysis were used to create a catalogue of areas of opportunity, describe the solutions proposed for implementation and select the most suitable plant species to renature the medieval quarter