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Sir Patrick Geddes was a biologist, sociologist and town planner with a strong interest in education, the arts, history and many other subjects. He believed strongly in the inter-relationships between all branches of knowledge.
Geddes grew up and was educated in Scotland, and studied biology in London. After a professional career as a biologist in London and France, he settled in the late 1880s in Edinburgh, where he became involved in the regeneration of the Old Town. He was particularly involved in the Ramsay Garden complex of private housing, student hall of residence and artists' studios, and in the Outlook Tower. In 1889, Geddes became Professor of Botany at Dundee University College, where he was required to be present for only three months of the year. This gave him the opportunity to pursue many other interests. In the ensuing decades, Geddes developed a highly individualistic theory of human societies and their spatial manifestation in the city and in the country, drawing upon theories in biology, geography, philosophy and politics. In 1904, Geddes published his first major report, City development: a study of parks, gardens and culture institutes, which enhanced his reputation among architects and planners. After 1900, Geddes's activities centred on London, where he co-founded the Sociological Society in 1903 and showed his Cities and Town Planning Exhibition in 1911. From 1914-1924, Geddes lived mainly in India, where he was involved in town planning. He accepted the Chair of Sociology and Civics at the University of Bombay in 1919. At this period, Geddes designed the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, garden suburbs for Jerusalem and Haifa, settlements elsewhere in Palestine, and the master plan for Tel Aviv. After his return to Europe in 1924, Geddes settled in Montpellier, France, where he founded the Scots College as an International University to propagate his ideas. He was knighted in 1932 and died at Montpellier.