Leandro López

Leandro's research investigates how hidden river features and characteristics can inform landscape architecture design methods.

Leandro photo

The Whanganui River has been granted legal personhood under the Te Awa Tupua Act 2017. As a living entity, it has its rights and responsibilities, and its physical and metaphysical elements are interdependent. This transformation challenges Western views of rivers, but its effects on management and design practices require clarification.

This new legal status presents an opportunity for landscape designers to develop design practices that acknowledge the river's living entity, including its physical and metaphysical qualities. By doing so, designers can move beyond traditional techniques and re-examine their relationship with rivers to explore new landscape design representation methods to honour the river's rights.

Leandro's research explores the potential impacts of the new legal system granted to the Whanganui River on extremely constrained rural rivers in the context of the Ruamāhanga tributaries river's landscape in Wairarapa. This research takes a practice-led approach, including fieldwork, temporary on-site installations, data collection on landscape perception, and local panels to share viewpoints and interests, culminating in a landscape architecture design project.


Associate Professor Peter Connolly and Dr Hannah Hopewell


Architect (Professional Degree) Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Postgraduate Urban Design, University Polytechnic Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.