Sir Patrick Geddes

Biologist, sociologist, planner, founder of the first Scottish university student residence.

Geddes plaque


Patrick Geddes was born in Ballater, Aberdeenshire, in 1854.

He studies at Perth Academy, then the Royal College of Mines in London, although he never completed his degree.

He worked as a demonstrator in the Department of Physiology at University College London, then as a lecturer in Zoology at the University of Edinburgh University from 1880 to 1888.

With a career spanning the fields of biology, sociology and geography, he became known for his innovative thinking in the pioneering field of urban planning.

In 1887, while working at the University of Edinburgh, Geddes opened the first of a series of student residences at Riddle's Court. It was an independent, extra-academical experiment, and University Hall remained autonomous and self-governing. It began with ten rooms and seven students who had the right to elect new residents and manage the internal affairs of the residence.

Furthering his expertise in town planning, Geddes worked to improve the slums of Edinburgh - and, later, the planning of other cities, such as Tel Aviv and Bombay - by focussing on the relationship between inhabitants and their surrounding environment.

Geddes went on to become the Chair of Botany at University College Dundee (1888-1919), and the Chair of Sociology at the University of Bombay (1919-1924).

He was knighted in 1932, but died later that year in Montpellier, France.

The plaque

Geddes' plaque is located at the main entrance of Patrick Geddes Hall.


In honour of Sir Patrick Geddes


Biologist, sociologist, urban planner, founder of first modern Scottish university student residences