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"Tempered" first makes me think of chocolate. Rose, however, equates his more novel use of the word to the English title of Bach's The Well-Tempered Clavier. A city is thus well-tempered by the relational adjustments that must be made to its "notes"--for instance, housing, transportation, jobs, green spaces, water, and waste management--to retain or achieve a more pleasing composition. Unusual for a book on urbanism, Rose nimbly covers the entire history of the city from ancient peoples to our time of "VUCA," a military acronym he introduces, which stands for Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity. His perspective as a developer gives him additional authority beyond his amazing mastery of his sources: the bibliography could serve for an entire degree program syllabus. But he also emphasizes the dangers that economic inequality and climate change are bringing to our cities, which are indisputably a more efficient and environmentally sound way of organizing ourselves for the future. This is a book that I would like to see in many people's hands.— From Carla's Picks
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.