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The Well-Tempered City

What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life

About the Book

2017 PROSE Award Winner: Outstanding Scholarly Work by a Trade Publisher

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.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“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

“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

“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 Estate Jeremy Newsum, Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor Estate Jeremy Newsum, Executive Trustee of the Grosvenor Estate

“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

“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. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone committed to the idea of successful and inclusive cities.” —Darren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation Darren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation Darren Walker, President, the Ford Foundation

“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.” —Laurie Anderson, artist

“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 Intelligence Daniel 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

“In an age where nobody believes anything, this book offers a rich vein of facts. It is essential reading for all those who live in cities, but perhaps more importantly those who don’t and may have to.” —Sir Nicholas Grimshaw, CBE, PPRA, RIBA, AIA, Founder Grimshaw Architects

The Well-Tempered City stands alongside works by Jane Jacobs, Lewis Mumford, and Christopher Alexander, deserving influence and implementation.” —The Architect’s Newspaper

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780062234728
  • ISBN 10: 0062234722
  • Imprint: Harper Wave
  • On Sale: 09/13/2016
  • Pages: 480
  • List Price: 36.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning
  • BISAC2: POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
  • BISAC3: SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / Urban

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