Betelhem Mengistu

Project: River Side Restoration for Urban Resilience

I am an Architect and currently studying my masters of Science degree in Landscape Architecture. I have participated in different international workshops like African Urbanity, Scenario thinking in the context of rapid urbanization and The Nexus Water-Food-Energy program. I have been working in different private design projects both Architecture and Landscape related. I work as a Social Entrepreneur in Collaboration with Reach for Change Organisation to help create Child Friendly Neighbourhoods in the city of Addis Ababa and raise awareness about the necessity of Green Spaces for improved environmental conditions and enhancement of holistic development of children.


My project is focused on researching river side restoration techniques that can help improve the qualities of Ecosystem Services that are gained from river ecosystems in consideration of the actual context of rivers in Addis Ababa. It is about assessing how to bring back riparian vegetation’s that are destroyed by humans and creating balance between human needs and ecological considerations in the utilisation of river ecosystems. There are four types of ecosystem services, one being regulatory services which includes climate change.

By improving Ecosystem Service qualities, we can address the issue of climate change which is one of the major problems that the world is facing today due to rapid urbanisation. The project is also going to work on awareness creation across different stakeholders about the potential of river restoration in tackling different problems and by improving climatic conditions, air quality, biodiversity, flood mitigation, erosion control and more.

By restoring river sides to a healthy state, we create a network of green spaces within the city which adds up the aesthetic value, improves climate regulation, provides public space, and enhances biodiversity which all together increases the resilience of Addis Ababa.


I've always had an interest in reading and exploring the space of sustainability for many years. I have noticed the change in the climatic condition of Addis as it is becoming very hot, there is rainfall fluctuation and landscapes are being highly degraded. I also had the chance to visit European countries and have seen similar temperature changes. This led me to become a Landscape Architect and create balance between nature and the built environment.