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UNHS Cities Event Series (2024) - “Urban Crossroads: where policy meets community”

Updated: May 6

In the early 20th century, Scottish biologist Patrick Geddes played a leading role in establishing urban planning as a social science. In the post-war period, American urbanist Jane Jacobs decried urban development in her time as being dominated by a groupthink mentality that neglected the interests of women and ethnic minorities. In the 21st century, cutting-edge scholarship is increasingly recognising that both Geddes and Jacobs were far ahead of their times in calling for more inclusive and context-specific approaches to shaping the places we inhabit.

Amid heated discourses about the best way forward, we hope to produce exchanges of knowledge which can refresh perspectives and help build bridges and inform policy and activism. Hearing from experts on feminist urbanism such as May East and finding inspiration in our heritage through Bashabi Fraser’s work on the correspondence between Patrick Geddes and Rabindranath Tagore, we will learn from diverse perspectives and bring less-heard voices to the fore.


“What if women designed the city?” (1 of 3)

Took place on May 1st – report to be published by the end of the month.




Does championing the ‘city’ risk losing the ‘village’? (2 of 3)

Thursday 9th of May at 1:30PM in Charteris Land, St John St, Edinburgh

“Inspired by the discourses of Rabindranath Tagore, Patrick Geddes and Jane Jacobs, we will talk about how we can place inclusivity, sustainability and humanity at the heart of urban development. For inspiration, we will think globally, discussing what we can learn from rural communities, international perspectives, and our heritage. After hearing from the panel, we will open up the discussion to the wider room in a roundtable format.”


With: Bashabi Fraser (Professor Emerita of English/Creative Writing and Tagore scholar), Dorian Wiszniewski (Senior Lecturer in Architecture), Rohini Sharma Joshi (Diversity and Inclusion Consultant in Housing sector) and Arunima Bhattacharya (Lecturer in Literature, and cultural historian researching colonialism and heritage)



More inclusive communities - are 20-minute neighbourhoods part of the answer? (3 of 3)

Thursday 23rd of May at 1:30PM in Charteris Land, St John St, Edinburgh


"We will try to understand and interrogate the opportunities and challenges posed by the '20-minute neighbourhood' concept in different contexts, with a particular focus on inclusivity."


With: Gillian Dick (Glasgow Urban Planner), Ellie Harrison (artist, author and grassroots activist), Caroline Brown (Director for Scotland at the Royal Town Planning Institute) and Ashley Mullen (Senior Architect in the Scottish Government) + figures from Scottish politics.


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