Patrick Geddes: Greening the Urban Environment by Dr Walter Stephen
Patrick Geddes (1854-1932) was categorised as ‘Biologist, Town Planner, Re-educator, Peace-warrior’ and ‘ A Most Unsettling Person’. He ‘grew up in a garden’, was sponsored by TH Huxley and went on to hold Chairs at UniversityCollege, Dundee and Bombay. His last major enterprise was the establishment of his own Collège des Ecossais in Montpellier.
Unlike most polymaths he was a man of action as well as a theorist and polemicist and engaged in a great array of projects associated with the environmental and social ills of his time.
For Geddes a garden was not just a pleasant retreat and an alternative source of food but a non-confrontational agency for community involvement and change.
In Edinburgh he regenerated dozens of properties and odd ‘scraps’ of ground, in a complicated relationship with such voluntary groups as the Edinburgh Social Union.