Cover photo Lorca


NatUR-W - Nature-based Urban Regeneration through Water: Integrating the water cycle in urban renaturalization

New European Bauhaus demonstrators


NatUR-W is regenerating Barrios Altos, a neighbourhood in Lorca’s historic centre, to combat energy poverty and the inefficient use of natural water resources in the face of climate change and rising temperatures. 

The project’s new urban regeneration system uses self-sustaining nature-based solutions (NbS) that respect the natural water cycle in the area. Actions include improving energy efficiency of social housing and public buildings, and creating green areas that can act as bioclimatic shelters. In this way, NbS will help improve living conditions, providing Ecosystem Services (ES) and supporting the recovery of the historic city centre.

Our main challenges...

  • Barrios Altos has fallen into major disrepair. 60% of dwellings are reported to be in a dilapidated, bad or deficient state, with many households facing energy poverty. 50% of households say they are unable to keep their homes cool enough in summer.

  • The local semiarid climate means summers are very hot. The region is seeing an increase in temperatures and the frequency of extreme heat waves.

  • Rainfall in the area is usually torrential, falling mostly within a few days in spring or autumn, and water resources are limited. This makes it increasingly difficult to maintain healthy green spaces that can act as shelters.

and proposed solutions

  • Certain buildings are being fitted with a new system called GreenThermoWall, which uses biopolyurethane as a substrate for the plants. This substrate acts as an insulating material to keep indoor temperatures in the dwellings at comfortable levels.

  • Sustainability is central to this solution. Repurposing existing reservoirs to collect and store seasonal rainwater, the NbS integrate the area’s natural water cycle, increasing the city’s water supply, and improving irrigation and water management.

  • The NbS will be implemented according to an Urban Regeneration Plan, including a participatory plan based on citizens’ real needs. NbS bring a range of social and economic benefits – such as reduced maintenance and better durability.

Key figures

96 238
inhabitants living in the city of Lorca
share of households in Murcia (Spain) reported as being unable to keep their home warm enough during the winter
share of households in Murcia declaring an inability to pay their utility bills
square metres of unused plots of land regenerated over the course of the project
square metres of public buildings with improved energy efficiency by the end of the project
stakeholders involved in co-implementation activities


Stakeholders board established
May 2024
Rehabilitation of Old Prison building completed
Feb 2026
Rehabilitation of public housing
Feb 2026
Construction of the Public Urban Forest completed
Aug 2026
1. Stakeholders board established
01 May 2024

A stakeholders board will be created to take part in all major management decisions 

2. Rehabilitation of Old Prison building completed
01 Feb 2026

Improvements include new, insulating GreenThermoWalls and indoor bioclimatic measures 

3. Rehabilitation of public housing
01 Feb 2026

Improvements include new, insulating GreenThermoWalls and indoor bioclimatic measures 

4. Construction of the Public Urban Forest completed
01 Aug 2026

Open space and water basins rehabilitated to improve water management and create a new urban park