Patrick Geddes

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Patrick Geddes, 1886

Sir Patrick Geddes FRSE (2 October 1854 – 17 April 1932) was a Scottish biologist, sociologist, geographer, philanthropist and pioneering town planner. He is known for his innovative thinking in the fields of urban planning and sociology.


  • Each of the various specialists remains too closely concentrated upon his single specialism, too little awake to those of the others. Each sees clearly and seizes firmly upon one petal of the six-lobed flower of life and tears it apart from the whole.
    • Patrick Geddes (1947). "Town Planning in Kapurthala. A Report to H.H. the Maharaja of Kapurthala, 1917". In: Jacqueline Tyrwhitt. Patrick Geddes in India. London: Lund Humphries. p. 26.

Quotes about Patrick Geddes

  • Few observers have shown more sympathy... with the religious and social practices of the Hindus than Geddes did; yet no one could have written more scathingly of Mahatma Gandhi’s attempt to conserve the past by reverting to the spinning wheel, at a moment when the fundamental poverty of the masses in India called for the most resourceful application of the machine both to agricultural and industrial life.
    • ‎Jaqueline Tyrwhitt in: Sir Patrick Geddes, ‎Jaqueline Tyrwhitt (1947), Patrick Geddes in India, p. 8
  • The study of public administration must include its ecology. "Ecology," states the Webster Dictionary, "is the mutual relations, collectively, between organisms and their environment." J. W. Bews points out that "the word itself is derived from the Greek oikos a house or home, the same root word as occurs in economy and economics. Economics is a subject with which ecology has much in common, but ecology is much wider. It deals with all the inter-relationships of living organisms and their environment." Some social scientists have been returning to the use of the term, chiefly employed by the biologist and botanist, especially under the stimulus of studies of anthropologists, sociologists, and pioneers who defy easy classification, such as the late Sir Patrick Geddes in Britain.
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