Patric Geddes The Garden City
Some have described Geddes as the father of the environmentaist movement. There is no doubt he had a big influence on it through his work. Geddes was also on the forefront of the city garden as a way of bringing life and sustenance to the poorer and run down parts of Edinburgh his home city. This connectivity is best expressed by Geddes himself writing in 1917 on seeing a city as an “inseparably interwoven structure’” akin to a flower. “Each of the various specialists remains too closely concentrated upon his single specialism… Each … seizes firmly upon one petal of the six-lobed flower of life and tears it apart from the whole.” Which kind of explains what is happening to our cities now, And has resonance also in the work of Ian L. McHarg mentioned elsewhere
“I grew up in a garden,” said Geddes. His family moved to Tayside when he was three and his formative years were influenced by the Tay’s beautiful and fertile river basin. His parents were broad-minded and his father, an army quartermaster, encouraged wide-ranging ‘home studies’ when Patrick left school in 1871. Another early influence was the anti-authoritarianism of the Free Church of Scotland.

Geddes’ subject of choice was biology and he studied in London under Thomas Huxley at the Royal College of Mines. He was then a demonstrator in the Department of Physiology at University College London where he met and impressed Charles Darwin.  A year abroad in Brittany and at the Sorbonne exposed him to the political anarchism espoused by Prince Kropotkin. Another influence was Le Play’s circular theory of geographical locations and analysis of the key units of society being constituted of “Place, Work and Family.” Geddes changed Family to Folk (people).