Nonfiction Short Take: The Well-Tempered City – Jonathan F.P. Rose

By 2050, global population will likely rise to over 10 billion with 70% of people living in cities. With the kind of scope and clarity of a Jane Jacobs, Rose looks at the history of cities and what the cities of the future will have to become to be environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. Dry stuff for city planners? No according to the reviews…

“Rose, an urban planner and developer, takes readers on a whirlwind tour of the evolution of cities, from antiquity to the “well-tempered” cities of the future—those that exist in harmony with their dynamic environments, constantly adapting to change….Central to this vision is the metaphor of city as natural organism: living, breathing, creating waste, and undergoing cyclical change….a thought-provoking introduction to the future of cities.”
Publishers Weekly

A creative city planner takes inspiration from the ancients’ sense of urban integrity to propound a holistic approach to crafting the city space…. A comprehensive primer for how to contemplate urban spaces as they evolve for the future.”
Kirkus Reviews

“In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan Rose equates his very 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 understands 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.”
— Carla Bayha, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life (9780062234728) by Jonathan F. P. Rose.  $29.99 hardcover. 9/13/16 on sale.

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