Patrick Geddes

Rank: 
34

Patrick Geddes was a Scottish biologist, known also for his innovative thinking in the fields of urban planning and education. He was responsible for introducing the concept of "region" to architecture and planning and is also known to have coined the term conurbation.

Geddes shared the belief with John Ruskin that social processes and spatial form are related. Therefore, by changing the spatial form it was possible to change the social structure as well. This was particularly important in the late 19th and early 20th century when industrialization was dramatically altering the conditions of life.

Geddes demonstrated this theory through his work in Edinburgh's Old Town. Here, in this most dilapidated area, he used associations with prominent thinkers who lived there in the 18th and 19th century (like Adam Smith), to establish residential halls. The building in question is still part of the University of Edinburgh complex. Here he situated his famous Outlook Tower, a museum of local, regional, Scottish, and world history.

He collaborated with his son-in-law, architect Sir Frank Mears on projects in the Middle East. In 1919, Geddes was commissioned by the British Mandate to draw up a masterplan for Jerusalem. In 1925, he submitted a master plan for Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is the only known city whose core is entirely built according to Geddes' plan.