Awards & Nominations

Land of Origins has received the following awards and nominations. Way to go!

Local Peoples' Choice Winner
Global Nominee

The Challenge | The Land Where Displaced People Settle

Characterize land cover/land use at informal settlements of displaced populations using NASA satellite datasets.

The Impact of Informal Settlement around Addis Ababa City in Terms of Agricultural Lands Change

Land of Origins team aims to provide environmental friendly green buildings and expand agricultural lands for informal settlers based on NASA Earth observations data. The green buildings include rainwater harvesting and wastewater recycling systems.

Land of Origins


Our team built a design approach for the problem of informal settlement by tracking satellite images taken from NASA Earth Observatory.


Informal settlement is a serious problem affecting land-based and environmental challenges. The loss of agricultural land due to informal settlement is a typical problem in those developing countries with food demand and population balance is at risk where expansion consumes the most productive agricultural land. The impact of informal settlement in Addis Ababa city on agricultural lands is the case we took to this project.


Though the solution of informal settlement is vast and varies from country to country and city to city, the basic remedies for the case in Addis Ababa are as follow:

  • Providing environmental friendly housing typologies and green building designs on site
  • Enforcing strong land management policies
  • Allocating task forces that follow-up implementation of policies
  • Creating awareness via websites and social media
  • Increasing community engagement


Ministry of Finance and Economic Development for Ethiopia (2006) reported that urban population of Ethiopia will increase in two folds by 2020, and urban poverty is currently becoming a growing concern especially in large cities of the country.[2] Thus, cities may need to consider agricultural production in urban areas or urban fringe to reduce the food insecurity and prevalence of poverty. Unfortunately informal settlement in Addis Ababa brought huge impact to degrade the land for agricultural use which leads to urban poverty.


Data Input

Satellite images taken from NASA Earth Observations

2008 G.C (1 image)
2018 G.C (1 image)
Software Tools
Open source QGIS called SAGA
Change detection of the land cover from 2008 G.C to 2018 G.C in the form of:
  • Special data that shows their difference (Image form)
  • Bar chart
  • Table form


1) Green Building Design

1.1) Rainwater Harvesting - For the satisfaction demand of 19,886,660 liters/day in Addis Ababa informal settlement requiring an approximate of 185 apartment having a storage tank of cross-section of 9x9x2 m each.

1.2) Wastewater Recycling - Using reed beds (locally available plants - Macrophytes species Arundo Donax) with maximum expected height of 2.5 m with total surface area required is 1,066,667 m.square of the bed

2) Land Management Policy - Housing typology, Buildings area restriction, Green technology, Agricultural land productivity by genetically modified seeds


Because of limited access to detailed geographic data, the project is studied and analyzed based on only the past 10 years data. It is also somehow specific to Addis Ababa city which is sensitive to the local demography and climate data. But it is appropriate for application to several settlements.


Addis Ababa slum upgrading programme .Situation Analysis of Infromal Settlements in Addis Ababa. United Nations Human Settlements Proram: Nairobi (2007)

Daniel Libero. Housing in Urban Context; Informal Settlements in Addis Ababa. Addis Ababa University, EThiopia (2006)

NASA Satellite Earth Observatory, NASA LANDSAT MSS Source (1973), ASTER Source (2007)

Yayesh Mihiretie. Assessment of Environmental impactof quarrying activities in Eastern Addis Ababa; Implicationon Urbanization. Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia (2017)


SpaceApps is a NASA incubator innovation program.