In the Footsteps of Geddes is the latest in a series of PAS project to be funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund. Similarly to our previous endeavour Place Work Folk (2013-14), also supported by the HLF, the inspiration came from the ideas and work of Patrick Geddes. This pioneering Scottish town-planner sought to promote managing urban areas in a way which has sensitivity to the needs of people that inhabit them, while remaining considerate towards their history and amplifying positive characteristics.

The project will encourage young people to become place-makers and active citizens. By providing them with the tools and aptitude to celebrate heritage in their streets, town centres and regions, they will then be prepared to create action plans aimed at improving their environs and facilitating wider discussion in their communities. The use of new digital technologies, while giving the young participants an opportunity to learn new skills, will also reflect Geddes’s approach to education and his promotion of visual aids as key to understanding the role and character of place and its interconnectedness with people and the rest of the world. PAS will also promote the ideas of young people to a wider audience at events and exhibitions celebrating youth in planning and place-making.

While enabling the capture of the cultural value and unique character of Scotland’s urban areas, “In the Footsteps of Geddes” will also showcase change as the defining feature of our communities, and actively connect the young people of Scotland to the past and future of their places. Connecting people with place through creative action and planning process is at the heart of PAS and the foundation of our organisation’s ethos.

Petra Biberbach, Chief Executive, PAS



In the Footsteps of Geddes is a HLF-funded project run by PAS. The project aim is to encourage young people as place-makers and equip them with the tools, resources and capacity to celebrate heritage in their localities. The inspiration for it is taken from the work of Patrick Geddes.

The project intends to engage people aged 11-25 from a variety of backgrounds across Scotland. The chosen method is a journey of reflection to explore how Geddes’s ideas remain valid today. The key one is the ‘Survey-Analysis-Plan’ technique, which inspired the Regional Survey movement in the 1920s. In the context of the project, young people will employ this procedure to identify, record and nurture heritage, for example buildings, places, objects, narratives and communities within their local areas. This will be achieved using a combination of methods. Participants will digitally capture and present heritage artefacts, landscapes and stories that contribute to our understanding of how their communities evolved and where they are heading.

Using a combination of new technologies with Geddes-oriented pop-up exhibitions in project areas, the young participants will spark conversations about the future of their local heritage. The young place-makers will then present illustrated plans to local communities, proving how particular heritage assets can be employed in the process of revitalisation. Their work will also be showcased and celebrated during a series of PAS-hosted events recognising the relevance of Patrick Geddes’s ideas and the value of contributions made by the project participants.

The young people taking part in the project will also have an opportunity to develop a set of comprehensive skills. Project and group work, using an interdisciplinary approach, analysis of data and use of modern digital technologies among others will assist them in personal, educational and later professional development, tying in with the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.