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"Geddes's great achievement in life
has been the making of a bridge between
Biology and Social Science"

SIR PATRICK GEDDES
(2/10/1854- 1932)


Partrick Geddes was born in Ballater, Royal Deeside, Scotland. His father was a regular soldier in the army and he grew up without the privileges of a wealthly background. He had akeen interest in Biology, the study of life flora and fauna and by the age of 24 he showed great promise as a biologist and many of his research papers were already published by the Royal Society.

He flourished in a time of enlightenment in Victorian Edinburgh. In 1879 he was employed by The British Association for the Advancement of Science to establish a zoological station for Aberdeen University in , at nearby Stonehaven and he was then sent to Mexico on a research mission.

Whilst there he contracted an illness there which temporarily blinded him, and when he recovered eye strain prevented him from using a microscope and he was unable to continue research which required him to use one.

He then applied his biological knowledge to the needs of mankind and developed theories of the appropriate living conditions. Working and teaching from the Camera Obscura Outlook Tower, he developed and played a large part in much of the renovation of the Royal Mile including the building of Ramsay Garden. Building beautiful new homes which were a huge contrast to the cramped and squalid conditions that existed previously on the Royal Mile. There are many spots on the Royal Mile with a plaque dedicated to Pattrick Geddes including, Ramsay Lane, Castle Wynd Steps South ( Also called Patrick Geddes Steps) and Dunbar Close Gardens.

Furthermore he developed new theories on education and organised Summer Schools to spread his ideas about how the arts and sciences could be applied to town planning and improved living conditions.

He was instrumental in the design of Edinburgh Zoo and created more natural environments for the animals, separating them from the public by moats rather than the usual cages typical of Victorian minageries. Geddes was a pioneer in what we now call an ecology.

In 1896 Geddes spent the winter in Cyprus helping refugees from the war between Turkey and Armenia to resettle and establish small units for agriculture and industry. Afterwards he organised a series of exhibitions to teach that good planning always leads to the physical and mental wellbeing of inhabitants.

His achievements and teachings brought him worldwide fame and he toured The USA, France and India where he worked extensively. There he met and exchanged ideas on philosophy with Gandhi and Tagore. In 1919 he was invited to design the new Jerusalem University in Israel.


He was knighted Sir Patrick Geddes shortly before his death in 1932 in Montpellier France where he had founded an international teaching establishment - The College Des Ecossais - The Colege of The Scot.

 


 
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