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Sir Patrick Geddes Commemorative Lecture

The social and ecological transition, and the critical role of our homes, streets, and neighbourhoods

Who was Sir Patrick Geddes?

Patrick Geddes is widely regarded as the founder of modern town planning. His interest in the natural sciences led him to a professorship at Dundee University in botany, after which he developed his interest in sociology and planning. He lived most of his life in Edinburgh during which he established the Edinburgh Social Union, promoted a wide range of sympathetic redevelopment and conservation schemes the length of the Royal Mile, largely for university residential accommodation, founded a publishing company, founded the Franco-Scottish Society, became a major sponsor of the arts, developed summer schools, promoted international festivals, and published seminal texts such as "Cities in Evolution".

He also spent time in India as Chair in Sociology at Bombay University, prepared a plan for the Hebrew University at Jerusalem and finally retired to France where he founded the College des Ecossais in Montpellier. He was knighted in London in the year of his death.

The Sir Patrick Geddes Commemorative Lecture 2024

Every year RTPI Scotland holds a Commemorative Lecture to advance Geddesian thinking and to stimulate debate and discussion on key planning issues. The 2024 lecture was given by Kevin P. Gilday, an award-winning poet and performer from Glasgow.

Kevin is an associate artist with the National Theatre of Scotland, a BBC Writersroom Scottish Voice and one of Scotland’s most celebrated contemporary poets. He was recently included in the Saltire Society’s ’40 under 40’ list celebrating outstanding Scottish creative talent.

Kevin has performed all over the world, from Hollywood to East Kilbride, including major music festivals (BBC 6Music Festival, Glastonbury), fringe festivals (Edinburgh, Toronto, Vancouver), literary festivals (Edinburgh International Book Festival, Verve Poetry Festival) as well as large scale tours of the UK, Europe, the US and Canada. He has performed alongside artists and public figures such as Akala, Saul Williams, George the Poet, Jackie Kay, Liz Lochhead, Sage Francis, The Silencers and Jeremy Corbyn MP. He has published five books of poetry, with his most recent - Anxiety Music - released by Verve Press in 2022.

You can watch the lecture below or read a review in this blog from RTPI member Lesley Martin.