Patrick Geddes’ Civics

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Beginning in The Evergreen, Patrick Geddes conceptualized civics during his experience in Victorian England. Geddes wanted to create a system that would improve the living conditions of people all over the world. This system would depend on the opportunities and limitations presented by people’s specific geographical situation and cultural backgrounds. This applied science eventually came to be called “civics” by Geddes and his colleagues and was a part of Geddes sociological practice. The periodical was a manifesto for cultural evolution that focused on civics as the solution to the ailments of modern society.

For Geddes, the built, industrialized environment was also the cultural environment of the Victorian period. Geddes wanted to reimagine and recreate Victorian society by reinvigorating the modern environment. Urban renewal was the solution; and urban renewal required the participation of people from all backgrounds. Geddes’ publication of his periodical, The Evergreen, explored the Celtic heritage of Scotland, Ireland, and France. His desire was to connect “intellectuals” and “emotionals” by a collective drawing away from modern alienation and engage them in civic affairs.

Works Cited

Claes, Konraad. “What to Naturalists is known as Symbiosis: Literature, Community, and Nature in The Evergreen,” Scottish Review, vol. 4, no. 1, 2012, pp. 111 – 129.

Hewitt, Regina. “Patrick Geddes (1854-1932),” Y90s Biographies, edited by Dennis Denisoff, 2016. Yellow Nineties 2.0, General Editor Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019,