Hello all current and future members of LI Connect.
My name is Marc van Grieken. I am a landscape architect/planner, chair of the Technical Committee and member of the Board of Trustees. I am a Fellow of the Landscape Institute and Fellow of EUPATI, the European Patient Academy for Therapeutic Innovation.
Please read on if you are interested in a tiny bit more background about me. If not, I am sure you know how to skip!
After 6 years of study, I graduated in March 1983 from the Agricultural University in Wagenigen, the Netherlands, acquiring the, arguably coveted, title of 'ingenieur'. My reward for graduation was the 21 months unemployment that followed in this 1980s period of dire recession. When I signed up for unemployment benefit in April 1983, the very cheery man at the desk said: "no need to come back monthly to prove your attempts to find work: "there's no work for you, good luck with your future." My study had been funded by a full student grant and an, interest free, student loan of 27,000 guilders in 1983 (equivalent to approximately £70K in todays money. I finally paid of this loan 16 years ago).
Between 1980 and 1983 I had become good friends with Peter Daniel, undoubtedly one of the best landscape architects since establishment of the Institute. Peter persuaded me to try my luck in Scotland. (I would encourage you to read the obituary I wrote: https://www.landscapeinstitute.org/news/obituary-peter-geoffrey-daniel/ )
I finally started my first ever, paid, job on the 5th of January 1985 with Land Use Consultants (now LUC). My first project consisted of 'designing' and specifying some grass and some trees as part of a land reclamation project aimed at 'greening and reclaiming' wasteland in the Gorbals, Glasgow. Apart from not having a clue what a specification should look like, I did not understand the meaning of the word 'wasteland'. From a Dutch perspective no land can or should ever be wasted. Shortly thereafter I was 'flown to London' with one of the directors with the sole(?) purpose of having a look at the White Cliffs of Dover. Why? Because Land Use Consultants had been appointed to look at environmental effects of a 'potential tunnel to France' and their approach to in-house training meant involving young graduates, partly by throwing us into the deep end but actually gently guiding us even though in my case I barely spoke English. A few months later I played a very small part in considering the implications of disposing the vast quantities of soil, rocks and mud that would be generated if the tunnel would be built. We also ‘had a bet’ and I was the only person of the project team who believed the tunnel would eventually be built. More importantly however, I became aware that my qualifications were much more suited to landscape planning type work.
I left LUC in December 2014, some 10 years after I was diagnosed with ‘early onset Parkinson’s disease’, and set up MVGLA which started trading on 5th January 2015 exactly 30 years since my start with LUC.
I am passionate about landscape and also a passionate advocate for patient involvement. I hope to contribute to constructive discussion on this Connect platform. In my case, I will participate in the LVIA debate elsewhere on Connect which is very close to my hart.
I believe that Connect provides a very good platform to share our knowledge and views.