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Sir Patrick Geddes Commemorative Lecture

Patrick GeddesRTPI Scotland hold an Annual Commemorative Lecture to advance Geddesian thinking and to stimulate debate and discussion on key issues in planning. The lecture is organised by RTPI Scotland and supported by the Sir Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust and the Saltire Society.

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, published seminal texts such as "Cities in Evolution", spent time in India as Chair in Sociology at Bombay University, planned 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 2018


The Participatory City

geddes lecture image

by Tessy Britton, Chief Executive, The Participatory City Foundation

on Tuesday 26 June 2018 in Royal College of Surgeons, Edinburgh


Tessy Britton is Founding CEO of Participatory City Foundation, an organisation established to create a large citizen-led participation ecosystem in Barking and Dagenham in London.  The initiative is scaling up a new approach to encouraging and supporting participation, building regular activities into the grain of everyday life to build sustainable neighbourhoods of the future. The approach has been researched and tested over the last 8 years and aims to offer cities new ways in which the centre of gravity moves away from problem focused approached towards citizens' talents and ideas.

Through this lecture Tessy will describe the overall ambitions and achievements of the initiative so far, as well as give more detail about the underlying models, and how the initiative aims to replicate in other cities.


17.45               Arrival and registration

18.00               Welcome and Introduction by Fraser Carlin MRTPI, Convenor of RTPI Scotland

18.15               Lecture by Tessy Britton, followed by questions

19.20               Vote of Thanks

19.30               Drinks reception

20.15               Departures

You can book a place here.


Sponsored by                                                                   

 Scottish Government LogoADS logo

The Lecture is supported by the Sir Patrick Geddes Memorial Trust


Previous Lectures

2017 "Poverty, Places and Equality: A role for place based approaches?" by Naomi Eisenstadt, Independent Advisor to the Scottish Government on Poverty and Inequality. You can download the presentation slides here.

2016 "Copenhagen: A City for People" by Tina Saaby, City Architect, Copenhagen

2015 "The Freiburg Approach to Sustainable Urbanism" by Wulf Daseking, Architect and former Chief Planning Officer for the City of Freiburg

2014 "Planning Matters, Building Resilience Through Risk Management – lessons from Australia" by Dyan Currie, National President of the Planning Institute of Australia and Manager of Strategic Planning and Economic Development, Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland.

2013   "Transition Towns and the Power of Just Doing Stuff" by Rob Hopkins, co-founder of the Transition Network.  You can hear Rob's lecture along with his slides here.

2012   "Cities for People: Geddes' Legacy" by Professor Jan Gehl, Founding Partner of Gehl Architects in Copenhagen on "Cities for People: Geddes' Legacy".  You can see a video of the full lecture at

2011   "Cities and Food" by Carolyn Steel author of "Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Lives".  You can view a video of the lecture here

2010   "Sustainable Economic Development: towards the emerging Ecological Age" by Peter Head, Director, Arup. Read a summary of the lecture here. 

2009   "Sir Patrick Geddes and the Scottish Generalist Tradition" by Murdo MacDonald, Professor of History of Scottish Art, University of Dundee. Read the lecture here.

2008   "The Biological Consequences of Living in Adverse Circumstances" by Harry Burns, Chief Medical Officer for Scotland.

2007   "Wanted: Visionary Planners to Apply Levers for a Sustainable World" by Richard Wakeford, Director General, Environment, Scottish Executive. Read the lecture here.

2006  "Planning and the public interest in the modern world" by Professor Greg Lloyd, School ofTown and Regional Planning,University of Dundee . Read the lecture here.

2005   "Cities in Devolution" by Raymond Young, Chair, Architecture + Design Scotland. Read the lecture here.

2004   "Sustainable Development Past and Present" by Jonathan Porritt. Read the lecture here.