The Well-Tempered City - What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us about the Future of Urban Life

Author(s): Jonathan Rose

Architecture / Design

In the vein of Jane Jacobs s The Death and Life of Great American Cities and Edward Glaeser s Triumph of the City, Jonathan F. P. Rose a visionary in urban development and renewal champions the role of cities in addressing the environmental, economic, and social challenges of the twenty-first century. Cities are birthplaces of civilization; centers of culture, trade, and progress; cauldrons of opportunity and the home of eighty percent of the world s population by 2050. As the 21st century progresses, metropolitan areas will bear the brunt of global megatrends such as climate change, natural resource depletion, population growth, income inequality, mass migrations, education and health disparities, among many others. In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose the man who repairs the fabric of cities distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity. Drawing from the musical concept of temperament as a way to achieve harmony, Rose argues that well-tempered cities can be infused with systems that bend the arc of their development toward equality, resilience, adaptability, well-being, and the ever-unfolding harmony between civilization and nature. These goals may never be fully achieved, but our cities will be richer and happier if we aspire to them, and if we infuse our every plan and constructive step with this intention. A celebration of the city and an impassioned argument for its role in addressing the important issues in these volatile times, The Well-Tempered City is a reasoned, hopeful blueprint for a thriving metropolis and the future.


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"This provocative, important, and majestically composed book about the future of cities should be essential reading for our times. An urban planner, environmentalist, and musician, Rose takes us on a rollicking centuries-long journey through the history of cities, never forgetting to marvel at their resilience and human core. What does Bach tell us about the complexity and organization of our urban environments? What is the 'metabolism of the city'? By the time I had finished Rose's book, I began to see the city and the world around me in an entirely new light. I could not put this book down." -- Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of The Emperor of All Maladies, The Gene "Rose's non-stop tour of the cityan in depth account of its history, theory, and practice-is exhilarating and complete, wherein compassion, Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier, and contemporary scientific thinking finally come to rest together. This is a hugely satisfying poem-rich in history, thought and deeply felt throughout." -- Philip Glass, composer "Once in every great while, a new book arrives that really addresses the things that are on my mind. Rose's The Well-Tempered City has given me an elegant and powerful framework to look at the things that interest me the most these days: contemporary culture, music and compassion. It is essential reading for everyone who lives in cities and everyone who dreams of repairing the world." -- Laurie Anderson, artist "Huge in ambition, grand in scope, dazzling in accomplishment. You will never look at your city, yourself or your neighbors the same way again." -- Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience "Someone once said that the ideal city is 'a garden for growing better people.' Few people alive today have synthesized a vision of what that ideal city would it would work...with more wisdom and inspired insight than Jonathan Rose. And the cold truth is that the survival of any civilization we'd actually want our children to live in hinges on evolving toward his vision." -- Edward Norton, Jr., actor, co-founder Crowdrise "Gathering a lifetime of learning, discovery, and understanding, Jonathan Rose has written an astonishing book: a treasure trove of knowledge about how our urban lives have evolved, interwoven with a compellingly pragmatic case for what they can be in the future. The Well-Tempered City is essential and exciting reading -- Jeremy Newsum, Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor EstateJeremy Newsum, Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor EstateJeremy Newsum, Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor Estate "The Well-Tempered City is a rich tapestry of the increasingly complex urbanized world. Rose's depiction of the city as a living metabolism-one requiring clean calories and water, green space and buildings, happiness and harmony achieved though connectivity, community and compassion-resonates like the Bach fugues he alludes to." -- Arthur Segel, Professor, Harvard Business School "Cities are the social body of mankind, and herein is the finest portrait of that body produced in decades. Rose doesn't just advocate abstract principles, he tells fascinating stories that engage and reveal the true potential of cities. He is a generalist in the grand tradition of Jacobs, seeing cities through the prism of history, ecology, cognitive science, geology, anthropology, climate science, technology and biology... this book is proof that such a perspective is the only way to understand urbanism." -- Peter Calthorpe, Author of Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change and co-founder of CNU "For millennia cities have been cauldrons of progress, innovation, and growth. Jonathan Rose draws on an incredible range of research to give a new, deeply insightful, and sweeping account of why and how cities develop. Many of humankind's greatest challenges and opportunities lie in cities and The Well-Tempered City shows us the way to a bright urban future." -- Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford and author of The Origin of Wealth Eric Beinhocker, Executive Director, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, University of Oxford and auth "The Well-Tempered City is a joyous journey spanning urbanism from ancient times to the present day, with wisdom for the future. A true Renaissance thinker, Rose's brilliant interdisciplinary observations are tempered by years of hands-on knowledge and lucidly composed into a crescendo of remarkable insights uniting us in common purpose." -- Bart Harvey, former Chair and CEO, Enterprise Community Partners "The Well-Tempered City is a joyous journey spanning urbanism from ancient times to the present day, with wisdom for the future. A true Renaissance thinker, Rose's brilliant interdisciplinary observations are tempered by years of hands-on knowledge and lucidly composed into a crescendo of remarkable insights uniting us in common purpose." -- Daniel L. Doctoroff, CEO, Sidewalk Labs "The Well-Tempered City traverses the span of human settlements, from ancient, sacred cities that were temple complexes to modern, sensate, interconnected metropoles that mimic living systems in function and design. As the extraordinary migration to urban environments continues unabated, the question Jonathan Rose poses is whether we build squalor by default or environments that address, heal, and prevent poverty, ill-health and civic discord by intention. This is a tall order but it is not speculative. Jonathan is a pre-eminent developer of the most imaginative urban housing in the United States. His scholarship extends from recent discoveries in neuroscience and human behavior to the skillful and transformative practices implemented in his own work. The pragmatic and the visionary rarely integrate this harmoniously into the re-imagination of what a city is and could be." -- Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest "Jonathan Rose's powerful new book, The Well-Tempered City, reveals a fresh understanding of inequality, urbanization, housing and public health. Rose weaves rigorous cognitive neuroscience research with powerful, authentic stories of people who often live at the margins of society. The book introduces a new human development paradigm--he cognitive ecology of well-being-and demonstrates how this new way of thinking offers solutions that help low-income families and communities recover and repair their lives. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone committed to the idea of successful and inclusive cities." -- Darren Walker, President, the Ford FoundationDarren Walker, President, the Ford FoundationDarren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation "The purpose of cities extends beyond their tallest buildings, and their possibilities are more inspiring than the sum of their institutions and landmarks. The Well-Tempered City shows what is possible ecologically and economically when a city is aligned with its people and its environment, and it offers a vivid roadmap not merely to survive, but to thrive in a rapidly urbanizing world." -- Janette Sadik-Khan, Bloomberg Associates; former NYC Transportation Commissioner "From the very first pages of this brilliant book, I was hooked. The transformative knowledge this book conveys has enabled be to know what I didn't think was even possible to know. Weaving a captivating in-depth story about the history of city life, exploring the various and intriguing ways our human nature works with--or against--nature, and addressing the pressing needs of our fragile planet, Jonathan Rose provides us with a unique and practical guide to where we've been and where we need to go to make our global, urban-dominated home a more resilient and compassionate place. This magnificent book, based deeply on extensive science we rarely hear about, is both informative and profoundly creative in illuminating novel and achievable applications that can create positive changes in our collective lives. Bravo!" -- Daniel J. Siegel, MD, Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute, author of Mind "Jonathan Rose shares his brilliant vision in this fascinating look at cities past and present. The Well-Tempered City offers a plan for urban-and ecological and social-thriving into the future. Anyone who lives in a city or cares about them will find this a rewarding read." -- Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional IntelligenceDaniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence "A comprehensive primer for how to contemplate urban spaces as they evolve for the future." -- Kirkus Reviews "A thought-provoking introduction to the future of cities." -- Publishers Weekly

JONATHAN F. P. ROSE works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation's leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to issues facing cities today. For his work as founder of the investment, development, and urban planning firm Jonathan Rose Companies, he has received awards from the Urban Land Institute, the American Institute of Architects, the American Planning Association, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation, among many others. With Diana Calthorpe Rose, he is cofounder of the Garrison Institute and the creator of its Climate Mind and Behavior program.

General Fields

  • : 9780062234728
  • : HarperCollins Publishers Inc
  • : HarperCollins
  • : July 2016
  • : 229mm X 152mm X 37mm
  • : United States
  • : November 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Jonathan Rose
  • : hardback
  • : 711.4
  • : 480
  • : illustrations