This is Neil Hugh Mclean Goring, our YWPDK profile for April 2015. Neil is a landscape architect working with climate change adaptation at Rambøll.
What is your current work title and what is your background/degree?
I am a landscape architect currently working at Rambøll in Copenhagen. I was born in Scotland, studied in Edinburgh and graduated with a master’s degree in landscape architecture. Before Rambøll, I worked for 2 years at a small landscape design company in Scotland dealing with small design projects, SUDS for housing developments and wind farm assessment work.
What is your motivation for working with water?
Water is such a fundamental element to work with. It’s not a “popular design trend” and it’s not a “new problem”. This means that it will always be relevant and offers limitless possibilities. For me, it is also a constant source of inspiration and provides so many opportunities for innovative design. I much prefer designing for a purpose or towards a solution rather than designing just to make a place more attractive.
What are your main interests within this field?
Urban water is my main interest. I feel that traditional city development conflicts with what makes a place livable. Instead of space for cars, people now want to see more urban nature such as green space, trees and wildlife. I believe water can be the biggest catalyst for this type of development and we are already seeing this happen with climate adaptation projects.
What was your motivation for becoming a member of YWPDK and how did you hear about the network?
Cities are very complex and developing a part of the city requires so many different professionals at every level from concept and communication to detail design and construction. This process is very linear but I find that design work isn’t linear at all. It should be a dialogue, back and forth, between these professionals with understanding and respect for each other’s approach.
Becoming a part of the YWPDK allows me to meet and hear about what kind of work other professionals are doing. I think it is important to understand how others are approaching work similar to mine or how they feel about working with, for example, landscape architects. Design needs to be more holistic and no single profession has all the answers.
When I first moved to Denmark my professional network was reset, but many of my colleagues at Rambøll were part of the YWPDK and suggested I join to help me meet other professionals.
What are your thoughts on the challenges that we, as young water professionals, face in the coming years?
One of the biggest problems, as outlined earlier, will be trying to work in a more holistic way. Space is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity and designs for these spaces will need to be as multifunctional as possible. A green space will also need to be an event space while also dealing with extreme flooding and promoting biodiversity.
People want to have pride in what they do but being undermined or challenged by another professional can create a defensive divide, like an “us” and “them”. Additionally, the systems in place mean that instead of working together we are working in response to what another has done.
As young water professionals we all working on the same team and have the opportunity to break the mold and show what can be achieved by working in a truly interdisciplinary way.