web site hit counter The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

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

Availability: Ready to download

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. C 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.


Compare

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. C 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.

30 review for The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣

    A work on how humans and the world we live in interact. When do we come into the state of 'Well-Tempered Well-Being', if ever? A cross between anthropology and urbanism with insights into neuroplasticity and neuropsychology. Evolutionary pressures, environment, A list of sweeping excursions into history spread over millenia: Jericho, Ubaid, Göbekli Tepe, Uruk, Teotihuacan, El Mirador, Memphis... Q: Interestingly, today if you scan someone’s brain with an MRI machine while he or she is chipping awa A work on how humans and the world we live in interact. When do we come into the state of 'Well-Tempered Well-Being', if ever? A cross between anthropology and urbanism with insights into neuroplasticity and neuropsychology. Evolutionary pressures, environment, A list of sweeping excursions into history spread over millenia: Jericho, Ubaid, Göbekli Tepe, Uruk, Teotihuacan, El Mirador, Memphis... Q: Interestingly, today if you scan someone’s brain with an MRI machine while he or she is chipping away at flints to make tools, the core language areas of the brain light up.6 In order to make a tool we must first imagine how to make it and how to use it, the same skills we need for language. This relationship between language and technologies persists today. When illiterate slum children are given access to computers they can teach themselves English, math, and other subjects essential to prospering in the modern world. (c) Q: Cognitive science has now shown that the experience of awe is deeply associated with increased compassion, and the practice of ritual with social affiliation. (c) Q: Calories measure the energy resources of a civilization, and with a surplus of calories these early communities were able to invest in infrastructure and organizational complexity. (c) Q: In about 9000 BCE they began to build an extraordinary temple compound, Göbekli Tepe. Göbekli Tepe is one of the first known human constructions, and its ambitions were outsize. At its oldest levels archaeologists have identified more than two hundred carved columns set in circles like Stonehenge, weighing ten to twenty tons each on average, with some more than twice as much. (c) Q: The site shows no signs of settlement but clear evidence of campsites from ancient visitors, and the remains of aurochs, the giant Neolithic cattle eaten at ritual feasts. Anthropologists believe these ceremonies were enhanced by the consumption of alcohol, and perhaps hallucinogenic drugs (c) Seems they knew how to party even back then. Q: When the climate began to warm again, the Ubaid, a new and remarkable civilization, spread along the Great Corridor. The Ubaid period, from 5500 to 4000 BCE, gave rise to hundreds of towns and at least twenty known proto-cities, large settlements that shared both rural and urban features, in an area stretching across southern Turkey to the southern tip of Iraq. When archaeologists dug through the strata of Mesopotamian settlements they found an Ubaid layer underneath every future major city. (c) Q: In addition to the first cities in Sumer, there are six other places around the world where ancient cities emerged: Egypt’s Nile Valley, the Indus valley of India, along the Yellow River in China, the Valley of Mexico, the jungles of Guatemala and Honduras, and the coastlands and highlands of Peru. Peru. Many were initially designed to align with the sun, moon, and stars, or some form of a sacred geometry. (c) Q: Mayan civilization, and every one of these agents is still at work in the world today. Like the Mayans, we have the intellectual tools to understand the megatrends that give rise to the growth of cities and lead to their collapse. And like the Mayans, we are failing to act. The question our city leaders must answer is this: What does it take to transform information into understanding, and then into change? Is our contemporary culture more capable of shifting course than the Mayans who raced headlong to their demise? (c) Doesn't look like that. Q:

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I love the subtitle of this book, “What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life.” As an environmental engineer, I am fascinated on the topic of infrastructure. A little over ten years ago, I took a fascinating urban planning class at Marquette University in Milwaukee. It really got me thinking about the way we build and maintain cities. I also realized I am a “new urbanist” and prefer to live in an old house in the city and fix it up rather I love the subtitle of this book, “What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life.” As an environmental engineer, I am fascinated on the topic of infrastructure. A little over ten years ago, I took a fascinating urban planning class at Marquette University in Milwaukee. It really got me thinking about the way we build and maintain cities. I also realized I am a “new urbanist” and prefer to live in an old house in the city and fix it up rather than to contribute the urban sprawl. Try explaining this to my family who seem to think the only sign of success is building your own new house on a one acre plot in the country! I also worked a lot at my previous job in the area of low impact development. How can we develop our cities smarter using less concrete to make sure that water can infiltrate into the soil and build back into our groundwater supplies? I was intrigued with the Well-Tempered City as it is authored by a premier urban planner and promised to take a look at the past to come up with innovative designs for the city of the future. Rose argues that the five qualities of a well-tempered city are coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion. The book is broke up into five parts to delve dep into the five qualities of the well-tempered city. The book is set up in chapters with many interesting subsections within each chapter. I must admit that I found Rose’s prose at times to be a bit pretentious, especially at the start of the book. He spent the intro waxing on about Bach and his way to tune instruments and how that relates to urban planning. I am a fan of Bach, but the engineer within me just wanted him to get on with his book. Once he got into the fascinating history of mankind and city building through the millennia, I was hooked. My background is water resources and I’ve actually given many presentations on my designs of low impact development areas in the mid-west. This is basically the natural infrastructure section of this book and pretty much part II, resilience. Rose did a great job of tying this to climate change and how green infrastructure is really the way the country needs to move forward. I also loved how the book had an entire chapter about how water is a terrible thing to waste. This book had a great discussion about wastewater treatment and also water quality overall. A lot of this material I currently teach in my environmental engineering technology program, but there were a lot of great facts sprinkled throughout that I could use to enhance my presentations. I already used some of the facts this week in class and there are a lot more that I can use in the future. Overall, I found The Well-Tempered City to be an intriguing look at urban planning the past with a path set forward. As an environmental engineer in education, it included a lot of great environmental information which I love to see as a major part of how to build the cities of the future. Clean water and green infrastructure are the passions of my life and I’m glad to see them getting included in urban planning on a wider scope. As an educator, the book has a lot of great points that I can refer to in class. I always love to recommend relevant books to my students! Favorite quotes: “Healthy cities must have both strong, adaptable governance and a culture of collective responsibility and compassion.” “In a time of increasing volatility, complexity, and ambiguity, the well-tempered city has systems that can help it evolve toward a more even temperament, one that balances prosperity and well-being with efficiency and equality in ways that continually restore the city’s social and natural capital.” “When the purpose of our cities if to compose wholeness, aligning humans and nature, with compassion permeating its entire entwined system, then its ways will be ways of love and all its path will be paths of peace.” What would you like to see in a city of the future? Book Source: Review Copy as a part of the TLC Book Tours This review was first published on my blog at: http://lauragerold.blogspot.com/2016/...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The Well-Tempered City was a far more fascinating read than I had assumed when reading the title and description. The introduction put me off a bit, as it seemed like it was going to be way too deep for my understanding of both cities and music (yes, music). I got through it and immediately in chapter one I realized what I was actually going to be reading. There is actually a lot of history found in this book, and i I received a copy of this book for free through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. The Well-Tempered City was a far more fascinating read than I had assumed when reading the title and description. The introduction put me off a bit, as it seemed like it was going to be way too deep for my understanding of both cities and music (yes, music). I got through it and immediately in chapter one I realized what I was actually going to be reading. There is actually a lot of history found in this book, and it was fascinating history. Rose does a fantastic job of drawing on the history of cities and civilization to explain how the lessons they taught us can be used to create modern cities with purpose and direction. He touches on everything from infrastructure, income equality, race/segregation, to climate change, and how all of these topics impact the well-being of a city. I'd recommend the book to anyone with an interest in the history of cities, urban planning, how past civilizations impact the decisions we make today and an interest in what we can do now when designing and building cities that can put us on a path to virtual utopias (unlikely to be achieved, but the lessons can still be used).

  4. 5 out of 5

    David Moss

    A complex tapestry of ideas woven together to create a veneer of understanding of the world, the book lacks real depth. New concepts are introduced every few pages, as if the profundity of it all would be self-evident. Not a bad book by any means, but not for stimulating deep contemplative pondering. Definitely an inch deep and a mile wide.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    I had the privilege of meeting Jonathan Rose and having lunch with him last October at the Cornell real estate conference in New York City. I was very impressed by his intelligence and his vision for the possibilities of modern cities. It was truly inspiring to listen to his ideas and the concrete steps he has taken toward addressing many of the challenges that our cities face. This book goes a step further, and attempts to not only identify and answer the difficult questions facing our cities, I had the privilege of meeting Jonathan Rose and having lunch with him last October at the Cornell real estate conference in New York City. I was very impressed by his intelligence and his vision for the possibilities of modern cities. It was truly inspiring to listen to his ideas and the concrete steps he has taken toward addressing many of the challenges that our cities face. This book goes a step further, and attempts to not only identify and answer the difficult questions facing our cities, but it presents solutions for some of the greatest challenges facing our world today. Rose ambitiously lays out practical and tested solutions to combat such problems as social inequality, global warming, and world hunger. And, as if this weren't enough, he weaves these solutions together into a truly inspiring vision for what the future could be. Best of all... he makes it all sound possible. My only complaint about the book was that it was a bit wordy in places. I feel like Rose often took 10 pages to say what he could have said in 2 pages. My favorite example: "Racial segregation may create a community that thinks it fits together, but in fact its people may be unfitted by being fit in an unfit fitness" (...... uhhhh ... OK!). I took off another star for the wordiness, but if you can cut through the excess without getting tired of it, I think there is a lot of great insight in this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Brad B

    The Well-Tempered City takes an integrative approach to urban planning and development that considers education, infrastructure, economics, and the environment. Using the music of J.S. Bach as a starting point gives more depth than the typical urban planning text. There are a few areas where I feel the analysis falls a little short. For example, the author advocates "smart cities" that make use of data from sources that include residents' smart phones, without addressing issues of privacy or dat The Well-Tempered City takes an integrative approach to urban planning and development that considers education, infrastructure, economics, and the environment. Using the music of J.S. Bach as a starting point gives more depth than the typical urban planning text. There are a few areas where I feel the analysis falls a little short. For example, the author advocates "smart cities" that make use of data from sources that include residents' smart phones, without addressing issues of privacy or data security. He makes a fairly traditional argument for recycling without acknowledging the impact of all those fossil-fuel burning trucks (in many cities, at any rate) and other issues that sometimes lead to a net environmental loss with many recycling programs. He praises the rebuilding of New Orleans after Katrina without mentioning that the "new and improved" city has fewer poor residents and many fewer black residents (100,000 less, according to The New York Times) than pre-Katrina. And while he does touch on the subject of consumption, he doesn't commit strongly enough to the fact that reduced consumption - an economy that does not require endless consumption to survive - will be an essential step toward sustainability. Despite a few flaws, the book overall is quite insightful and the author provides extensive case studies that give a sense of hope that all is not lost, that there are still people out there considering the big picture and taking the necessary steps to build sustainable communities. The evidence that societies driven by altruism - basic fairness - are more successful in the long run, should be required reading for every divisive religious leader, every greed-corrupted CEO, and every corporation-owned politician. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Özgür Takmaz

    Since the founding of the very first cities, governance and culture have been used to balance “me” and “we.” In fact, humans are the only mammals that engage in alloparenting, or shared parenting. Cognition, cooperation, culture, calories, connectivity, commerce, control, complexity, and concentration. Perhaps the change came from the development of verbs, which allowed us to describe not only objects, but actions, and not only in the present, but in the past and future as well. Interestingly, toda Since the founding of the very first cities, governance and culture have been used to balance “me” and “we.” In fact, humans are the only mammals that engage in alloparenting, or shared parenting. Cognition, cooperation, culture, calories, connectivity, commerce, control, complexity, and concentration. Perhaps the change came from the development of verbs, which allowed us to describe not only objects, but actions, and not only in the present, but in the past and future as well. Interestingly, today if you scan someone’s brain with an MRI machine while he or she is chipping away at flints to make tools, the core language areas of the brain light up.6 Evolution often occurs in response to stress. After all, why change when things are going well? Environmental conditions that reduce the reproductive success of part of an ecosystem create a condition called evolutionary pressure. Ironically, success can create its own pressure in the form of an ecology that has less biodiversity, and is therefore more robust but also fragile. Norenzayan believes that the belief in judgmental deities, or “big gods,” provided the cooperative glue necessary to build places such as Göbekli Tepe. A watchful, punishing god or gods proved to be a very good monitor of behavior, particularly if the god had authority over your after- or future life. “Big gods” tempered human behavior. The Ubaid began manufacturing on a large scale, not just for their own use, but specifically for commerce, spinning wool into cloth and using the slow pottery wheel to increase production. Electing a ditch boss, as the role came to be known, is the oldest and longest-running democratic process in the world, and continues to this day in many parts of the world. BCE Rome started keeping the lands its legions were winning for itself, and by 146, with the fall of Corinth and Carthage, Greece had become a Roman territory. Vitruvius is remembered for describing the most important attributes of a building as firmitas, utilitas, and venustas, or structural strength, utility, and beauty. These questions arose in response to an increase in violence and materialism resulting from two technologies that had swept across Eurasia. The first was the chariot-riding archer, which led to the rise of large, highly mobile armies around 1700 BCE. Five hundred years later the Iron Age produced even more powerful and destructive weapons. Emperors, greedy for land and power, began a thousand years of continuous war. At the same time the invention and widespread usage of coins to represent value dramatically increased commerce, accelerating the rapid growth of wealth, materialism, and inequality. Too often the response to chaos is the other extreme, fascism and decadence. al-Farabi, an important religious and scientific thinker, developed the first scientific theory of the vacuum, and significantly contributed to the engineering of urban water distribution systems. He also wrote a key Islamic text, The Perfect City, which described three kinds of cities.6 The best was the virtuous city, a place in which people pursue knowledge, virtue, and happiness with humility. Next came the ignorant city, whose residents seek wealth, honor, freedom, and pleasure without aspiring to a higher state of well-being and true happiness. Last came the wicked city, whose people delude themselves, knowing that wisdom is the highest calling but justifying the pursuit of power and pleasure with arrogant, self-serving rationalizations. Lübeck’s charter, which came to be known as Lübeck’s Law, was pivotal to the success of the cities that adopted it. To accelerate the growth of trading partners Lübeck exported its law across the Baltic. Over time one hundred cities adopted it, and in 1358 they formed the Hanseatic League, a powerful multinational trade alliance that made Lübeck the most prosperous city on the Baltic. The project tracked twenty-eight measures of the health of community and natural systems, in five categories of well-being: human capital (people); social capital (relationships); natural capital (the natural environment); built capital (infrastructure); and financial capital (money). TNature does not have to think about these things; it does not have to decide which course of action to take. Humans do. Our cities are reflections of our perceptions and intentions, our aspirations, our cognitive biases, and our fears. These shape how we choose what our cities shall be from the vast metagenome of possibility. The Canadian scholar Thomas Homer-Dixon set out to calculate the number of calories needed to build one of the world’s most iconic structures, Rome’s Colosseum. And his work ended up providing insight into the collapse of an entire empire. Earnings from latifundia were the only approved income for senators, so not surprisingly the senate made latifundia income-tax exempt. (Many things have changed over time, but not the self-interest of the politically powerful!) Management provides societal benefits, but doesn’t generate energy itself, so it has to be subsidized by the surplus energy of the system. Big Macs require about seven times more energy to produce than they provide. The EROI of our food system... Entropy, the thermodynamic decline of a system from order toward disorder, affects systems in two ways—it causes them to move from higher to lower states of energetic organization, and higher to lower states of information. And as systems become less energized and organized, they become less adaptable. For example, as the Roman civilization declined, it lost its ability to provide itself with the calories and information needed to energize itself, and along with that, its ability to govern itself at a level that matched its complexity. The Roman Empire slid into simpler and less-organized states. It finally stabilized at a population that was less than 0.5 percent of its size in its heyday. Responding to changing circumstances can be difficult because it is in our nature to want to return to the status quo rather than to risk moving on to an uncertain future, even if it might be a better one. small-scale, decentralized, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and locally controlled. In 1973 instability in the Middle East caused oil prices to shoot up from $20 a barrel, where they had been for nearly a century, to $100 in less than three years. Recognizing this connection between health and the home environment, doctors in Boston are now authorized to write a prescription for a building inspection if they believe that a health problem is caused by an issue in a patient’s home. Many behaviors are the result of designs that could be easily improved. One such strategy is called choice architecture. This integration of energy and information begins to function as emergy, Howard Odum’s pathway to increase the complexity of a system Recent cognitive science research indicates that connectivity and culture are core conditions of happiness. Granovetter proposed that our weak ties are more useful than our strong ties. Why? Because strong ties don’t extend our reach into the larger world and diversify our knowledge and contacts. There’s a strong relationship between the degree of broader trust in a society and its economic performance. Eric Beinhocker, author of The Origin of Wealth, writes, “High trust leads to economic cooperation, which leads to prosperity, which further enhances trust in a virtuous circle. But the circle can be vicious as well, with low trust leading to low cooperation, leading to poverty, and further eroding trust.” Ernest Fehr, a distinguished Austrian neuro-economist at the Max Planck Institute, says that most people are “conditional altruists, who will cooperate if they believe that others will reciprocate.” they discovered a principle now well known to cognitive scientists: changes in attitude follow changes in behavior, not the other way around. Our brains are not only wired for flight and fight. They are also wired for what psychologists call “tend and friend,” a strategy that women, in particular, turn to. The choice between fight and flight or tend and friend is influenced by Sampson’s neighborhood effect. So what happened in 1780? Everything changed, thanks to James Watt’s dramatic improvement of the steam engine in 1777. Graham’s most recent work correlates current happiness with the belief in the opportunity to improve our future or the future for our children.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Hirstein Smith

    This book kept me busy and distracted while I was recuperating from a hip injury. I read it right after I was elected to city council. It really helped ground me to understand the issues modern cities face but also what levers of power city leaders have. It took forever for me to read this book because I took time to research unfamiliar ideas and groups mentioned. I learned about circular economies, the Edmonton Canada well-being index indicators and net-zero energy buildings. I followed at leas This book kept me busy and distracted while I was recuperating from a hip injury. I read it right after I was elected to city council. It really helped ground me to understand the issues modern cities face but also what levers of power city leaders have. It took forever for me to read this book because I took time to research unfamiliar ideas and groups mentioned. I learned about circular economies, the Edmonton Canada well-being index indicators and net-zero energy buildings. I followed at least 50 new people and groups on Facebook and Twitter. The only reason it lost a star from me is the author is a much bigger AO Wilson fan than I am. This book is too much a product of a transitional time to be an enduring classic. It is very helpful for understanding the increases importance of city and regional leadership in these uncertain years.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alice Lemon

    *sigh* I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted it to be as interesting as it sounded like it would be. Unfortunately, it wasn't, and I couldn't. The history-of-the-city section at the beginning was almost very interesting. I say almost because it was a bit too superficial, and had some embarrassingly bad factual errors in it that made me deeply distrustful of everything else in the book that I didn't already know. The rest of the book was just very lightweight and fluffy, and largely s *sigh* I really wanted to like this book. I really wanted it to be as interesting as it sounded like it would be. Unfortunately, it wasn't, and I couldn't. The history-of-the-city section at the beginning was almost very interesting. I say almost because it was a bit too superficial, and had some embarrassingly bad factual errors in it that made me deeply distrustful of everything else in the book that I didn't already know. The rest of the book was just very lightweight and fluffy, and largely stuff I knew about and had read better-described elsewhere.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I thought that the topic was very interesting but I felt that the connection the well-tempered clavier was not carried well throughout the book. I also don't think it was the right metaphor to use and in many cases just lost connection to it. The book was also too long for the topic. Many of the chapters could have been summarized in half the length. I thought that the topic was very interesting but I felt that the connection the well-tempered clavier was not carried well throughout the book. I also don't think it was the right metaphor to use and in many cases just lost connection to it. The book was also too long for the topic. Many of the chapters could have been summarized in half the length.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mikaela

    An insightful and highly readable exploration into the music of urbanness. Through anecdotes and analysis across a spectrum of topics (history, psychology/cognition, economics, architecture, ecology etc.), Rose creates a cohesive vision of the theories and problems of urban life, while offering strategies/insights on how to repair them for the future. Fact-driven with heart.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wright

    Ok, I know a book about urban planning sounds like a snooze, but, believe me, it is compelling. Rose covers the history of cities from ancient to modern: where they went right, where they went wrong and where we can go from here. This book should start some interesting conversations.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Faye Glidden

    Everyone needs to read this! Get over the typos & occasional ungrammatical sentence. Listeners of NPR would like this one!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Shuaib Choudhry

    The scope of this book seems insane linking music with urban economics, happiness and cognitive neuroscience, religion and science and how all need to act in coherence for a higher altruistic purpose to form the Well-Tempered city. This title and aim of the book is incredible with the link to Bach's Well Tempered Clavier musical key book, which allows one to play multiple keys at one link and have them blend harmoniously in tune, arising by linking the many keys or properties and characteristics The scope of this book seems insane linking music with urban economics, happiness and cognitive neuroscience, religion and science and how all need to act in coherence for a higher altruistic purpose to form the Well-Tempered city. This title and aim of the book is incredible with the link to Bach's Well Tempered Clavier musical key book, which allows one to play multiple keys at one link and have them blend harmoniously in tune, arising by linking the many keys or properties and characteristics of a city and having them work in conjunction with each other to reinforce the aims of each one. The five key properties which underlie his theory of cities are: Coherence, Circularity, Resilience, Community and Compassion, and the author expands on these in the 5 chapters of the book by utilising previous examples of cities which displayed aspects of these 5 properties. But even though the scope may seem insane the author manages to combine all these ideas into one great tapestry. He does this through many different perspectives and being open to learning from them. He takes us on a grand journey from the early urbanism of ancient civilisations to modern day metropolises with an eye on the future and how they can increase their performance. For a complex system (i.e. a city) to perform at its best and most efficient, the most crucial component is it's function or purpose; the fulfilment of this function must be shared by all those within it. For a city to truly fulfil its potential, all those within it must share a common altruistic purpose; this is a great proof/link with an Islamic way of living where all in the city live for fulfilling God's aims and this links in with coherence. Also makes a great link with biocomplexity, cities pretty much function as the amalgamation of multiple living organisms and thus cities display biocomplexity. Information and planning serve as the DNA of the system as they set the guidelines for the evolution of the city whereas regulations, incentives and communications serve as RNA translating the DNA into action and thus building the city. Moreover, building nature into a city not only helps liveability but also helps combat climate change and rising sea levels. This book is a great affirmation of Islamic principles whereby searching for solutions in God's creation seems to be the best cost effective way to tackling the biggest problems facing our society today, like climate change, happiness and population growth. Alongside this he raises some great ideas in the book such as a patent tax in San Francisco to tackle the rampant inequality, which to me is a superb idea and circular economies sound like a great way to utilize resources and also provide a boost to local economies This book is brilliant and this can be seen from the immense praise I have for this book, but with all that being said it's not perfect and I do have some small criticisms. His part about terrorism being the most disturbing threat to cities I do not agree with at all and he says they're mainly motivated by religious fanaticism and greed and seems to forget the role the west has played through it's foreign incursions and the injustices resulting from these, it is like the chickens coming home to roost. Ignores too much of colonial exploration and exploitation and the advantage gained from them, maybe he omits this accidentally and was not something he considered. Another criticism I have of the book is that it is too American centric with the modern examples when I can imagine many cities round the world providing even more richer and innovative ideas and would've added to the greatness and complexity of this book But overall for me this book is one of the best I have read and can't but help make great parallels with Islam and his idea of cities as it shares many properties with the Islamic ideal. Islam is a kind of Well Tempered religion as this interconnectedness between different parts of life allow them to act in coherence with each other such that you get them in tune and balance with each other and reinforcing results from each part of the whole and thus all working in conjunction to serve the higher purpose of praising God. A great example from the book reaffirming this idea for me personally is the six degrees of separation and three degrees of influence and the power of social networks and your companions to have an effect on you, which is why Islam puts so much stock on your closest companions and also provides the means for the Muslim to easily assimilate across the globe and into a community wherever there are Muslims present.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jake Davis

    Highly recommend this book. Great read whether you don't know the first thing about cities or whether you know a lot. It doesn't get _too_ deep but still offers insightful analysis of what makes cities successful (or not). In particular, Rose presents five tenets that are critical to successful cities: coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion. He breaks each of these down into practical policies and offers a number of case studies examining them. I found the sections on circu Highly recommend this book. Great read whether you don't know the first thing about cities or whether you know a lot. It doesn't get _too_ deep but still offers insightful analysis of what makes cities successful (or not). In particular, Rose presents five tenets that are critical to successful cities: coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion. He breaks each of these down into practical policies and offers a number of case studies examining them. I found the sections on circularity and resilience to be really great, but I also love environmental planning and there was a lot of that there ;) One of the great parts about this book is how multidisciplinary it is. He talks about medicine, transportation, engineering, physics, genetics, public health, art, environmental planning, food systems, and more. The part on food systems blew my mind and really opened my eyes on a number of fronts. My big criticism is that sometimes it's a bit of a mile-wide / inch-deep situation. He does a great job weaving all these disciplines together, but sometimes it feels like he mails it in on certain subjects, and you're left wanting more investigation as to how a particular case study, for example, supports his overall point. But this is uncommon and generally he does a nice job. I also admit that the end dragged for me a bit, and I ended up skimming the last two chapters, but I still think this is a great read worth picking up if you're interested in cities and urban development.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Adam

    Do we know and understand the difference between complicated and complex? Are we as prepared to think about systems as we think or need to be? In his book The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan Rose takes the reader on a quasi-epic journey through the city-building ages. At its heart, Rose builds the case that for urbanization to continue successfully in a time of challenging megatrends such as climate change, people must think of cities more holistically - restoring wholeness through the lens of altr Do we know and understand the difference between complicated and complex? Are we as prepared to think about systems as we think or need to be? In his book The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan Rose takes the reader on a quasi-epic journey through the city-building ages. At its heart, Rose builds the case that for urbanization to continue successfully in a time of challenging megatrends such as climate change, people must think of cities more holistically - restoring wholeness through the lens of altruism, openness, and integration. His compelling, and not understated, argument is that a city that will thrive will be well-tempered; all well-tempered cities must have clear and verifiable characteristics - coherence, circularity, resilience, community, and compassion. We can think of each facet not individually but as each relates to a larger vision of how a city should reflect the biocomplexity of the natural ecology in which it is situated. In more obvious terms, cities can learn a lot from the natural systems of the world. What I found most rich about this text is that its clear thesis (backed up by countless examples and studies and experiences) is couched in humanistic terms. For cities and the communities that occupy them, survival will depend upon our ability to be altruistic - thinking about how our decisions and actions affect and effect the "we" rather than always thinking of the "me". Well-worth the read and certainly inspiring!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marc Laderman

    I met Johnathan Rose many years ago when he came to walk my neighborhood and we imagined an auto-centric traffic artery becoming a transit-oriented neighborhood. I enjoyed the book. It is an excellent guide to get a handle on our next phase of city building. One aspect I enjoyed was the metabolic accounting Mr. Rose proposes on the city level. While hardly the first to explore the concept I was, I’m sure, the first to propose what I termed ‘Metabolic Ledgers’ as a deliverable for environmental imp I met Johnathan Rose many years ago when he came to walk my neighborhood and we imagined an auto-centric traffic artery becoming a transit-oriented neighborhood. I enjoyed the book. It is an excellent guide to get a handle on our next phase of city building. One aspect I enjoyed was the metabolic accounting Mr. Rose proposes on the city level. While hardly the first to explore the concept I was, I’m sure, the first to propose what I termed ‘Metabolic Ledgers’ as a deliverable for environmental impact reports to the City of Boston. I was leaning on Jeffrey Kenworthy and Peter Newman, Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence. See Urban Village Design Guidelines, Marc Laderman, self-published November 2009. I proposed ledgers for 1) greenhouse gases (GHGs) as a proxy for energy, 2) water and 3) solid waste. Metabolic energy is a natural accounting because, by definition, a closed system needs to be defined and the boundaries become known. Mr. Rose however does stretch the second law of thermodynamics beyond rationality, perhaps further than Spencer stretched Darwinism, when he attempts to define the entropy of a city. Entropy doesn’t have a thermodynamic definition when it comes to living tissue and city building. Life processes create higher orderliness with continued energy inputs. Trying to place closed system boundaries around life processes is a fool’s errand. I think that the book’s arguments would be stronger if these analogies were removed. Either bad editing or incompetence on page 276 in the kindle edition, “Globally we produce 15 trillion watts of power every day.” As written, this is nonsense. It’s the equivalent of, “Globally we drive automobiles 15 trillion miles an hour every day.” We produce energy. The rate of production is power. Was 15 TWH (fifteen terra-watt-hours) meant? I also want to thank Johnathan for introducing me to Braess’s Paradox. I was not previously aware of this phenomena with its mathematical simulation.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Charles Wolfe

    The following is my review of September 27, 2016 from The Huffington Post: Spoiler alert: I love epic stories with universal meaning for varied audiences around the world. In sum, that is why I think Jonathan F.P. Rose‘s new book will become a must-read classic. And, if 400-pagers are not your style, it’s at worst a well-written, must-browse wonder, with relevant lessons for us all. Rose is a real estate developer, philanthropist and fine arts patron with prominent New York roots, and holds a grad The following is my review of September 27, 2016 from The Huffington Post: Spoiler alert: I love epic stories with universal meaning for varied audiences around the world. In sum, that is why I think Jonathan F.P. Rose‘s new book will become a must-read classic. And, if 400-pagers are not your style, it’s at worst a well-written, must-browse wonder, with relevant lessons for us all. Rose is a real estate developer, philanthropist and fine arts patron with prominent New York roots, and holds a graduate degree in regional planning from the University of Pennsylvania. His book, The Well-Tempered City, captures a life’s worth of experience and thinking, and his seven years of applied work on the book is readily apparent. He has done what many of us aspire to do, and translated experience into broad-based, focused lessons about the potential of our cities. He shows what we can achieve if we avoid discord, and align towards our latent human abilities to coordinate and mutually address inevitable change. Rose’s inspirational theme is Johann Sebastian Bach’s then-novel, 18th century system of tuning musical instruments in The Well-Tempered Clavier. He takes Bach’s premise of aligning human ideals with natural harmony, and applies it to urban progress and potential such as greening cities today. I recently caught up with Rose in Seattle and tested my surmise that even those who prefer the short length of a tweet should immerse themselves in Rose’s ideas. Why? First, current trends within cities tend to proceed independently and without context, which complicates our ability to converse holistically, and carry out solutions. Second, our state of civility is sorely lacking, and we need new ways to do urban business amid complicating global trends. I was not disappointed; in our conversation Rose illustrated how The Well-Tempered City presents a baseline to address both of these concerns. He jumped quickly, with excitement, to a Portland Sustainability Institute (now “Ecodistrict‘) graphic that he often uses in presentations. With read-the-city enthusiasm learned from his brother-in-law, architect/urbanist Peter Calthorpe, Rose explained Portland residents’ aspirations for a green, accessible and safe city, with places where people will want to spend their time. But here’s a pleasant caveat: Rose’s points stem not from a developer’s “green-washing,” but from well-studied explanations in the book about humans, and how they are wired, dating from our common ancestors who evolved millions of years ago. After reading The Well-Tempered City, and speaking at length with Rose, I emerged with excitement and optimism, because with simple attention to his humanistic base, and concepts of vision, coherence and compassion, I saw how idealism and implementation merged. As a developer, Rose applied “the developer’s test” to his book’s ideas and found them workable—-and so do I. With a volume full of implementation examples, it is easy to understand why. His key paragraph from the Introduction—-also already reproduced in other online excerpts and feature articles—-is worth repeating: "Imagine a city with Singapore’s social housing, Finland’s public education, Austin’s smart grid, the biking culture of Copenhagen, the urban food production of Hanoi, Florence’s Tuscan regional food system, Seattle’s access to nature, New York City’s arts and culture, Hong Kong’s subway system, Curitiba’s bus rapid transit system, Paris’s bike-share program, London’s congestion pricing, San Francisco’s recycling system, Philadelphia’s green stormwater program, Seoul’s Cheonggyecheon River restoration project, Windhoek’s wastewater recycling system, Rotterdam’s approach to living with rising seas, Tokyo’s health outcomes, the happiness of Sydney, the equality of Stockholm, the peacefulness of Reykjavík, the harmonic form of the Forbidden City, the market vitality of Casablanca, the cooperative industrialization of Bologna, the innovation of Medellín, the hospitals of Cleveland, and the livability of Vancouver. Each of these aspects of a well-tempered city exists today and is continually improving. Each evolved in its own place and time and is adaptable and combinable. Put them together as interconnected systems and their metropolitan regions will evolve into happier, more prosperous, regenerative cities." In other words, if you worry that a lofty fascination with classical music is not the recipe for mediating concerns about urban density, affordability, access to public transit or climate change, fear not, because it’s all there. I watched Rose nimbly grab excerpts like this one during our conversation, and later in the afternoon, in a response to several questions at a Seattle event sponsored by the Urban Land Institute and the Congress for the New Urbanism (as a warmup to the organizations’ overlapping Seattle conferences next Spring). From San Francisco’s recycling example to Hong Kong’s iconic public transit system to the potential catalytic role of community groups, the book has, as he told me, a little bit for everyone interested in urban issues today. Perhaps I am inspired by my overlaps with Rose’s world view (such as tendencies to emphasize lessons learned from cities long ago, such as the historic sustainability of Matera discussed in my 2011 The Atlantic article), but I’m just one of many who will find in The Well-Tempered City a roadmap, and many examples, of well-tempered places and their underlying principles. For example, I would argue that today’s placemaking movement is one element of Rose’s emphasis on how we are capable of fine tuning our cities—-with human scale approaches—-already embedded in who we really are.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joni Baboci

    This is a really, really good book. Jonathan Rose has condensed decades of experience, data, stories and histories into a system of planning verbalizing a half-moral/spiritual, half functional/market-based approach. It is a great read with fantastic references and well-read author weaving the reader through the tapestry of the history of cities and city planning. It truly seems like a merge of Jane Jacobs and Ed Glaeser merging the efficacy of place-making with the efficiency of density. Highly R This is a really, really good book. Jonathan Rose has condensed decades of experience, data, stories and histories into a system of planning verbalizing a half-moral/spiritual, half functional/market-based approach. It is a great read with fantastic references and well-read author weaving the reader through the tapestry of the history of cities and city planning. It truly seems like a merge of Jane Jacobs and Ed Glaeser merging the efficacy of place-making with the efficiency of density. Highly Recommended not only for planners or urbanists, but also for people who think cities are interesting!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bruce

    At once a work of urbanism, political theory and poetry. Uses Bach's composition as metaphor for harmonizing all the facets that comprise a city. I am not an expert on classical music but had no difficulty following the argument. Its scope is sweeping and its stance humane. My one complaint, and it's but a slight one, is that in making his points he can overlook complexities. (For example he justly praises New Orleans's choice not to re-create their pre-Katrina design, but doesn't note that the At once a work of urbanism, political theory and poetry. Uses Bach's composition as metaphor for harmonizing all the facets that comprise a city. I am not an expert on classical music but had no difficulty following the argument. Its scope is sweeping and its stance humane. My one complaint, and it's but a slight one, is that in making his points he can overlook complexities. (For example he justly praises New Orleans's choice not to re-create their pre-Katrina design, but doesn't note that the poorest people bore the brunt of this decision.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Noyara

    Yes it took me arguably long time to finish this. Still, this book is a bundle of facts and ideas that relevant to where human reside the most, i.e. cities. Reading this book gives me hope since it gives you issue following by a moving story happened on the other parts of the world to address the issue. You don't have to be interested in urban planning whatsoever to read this. Just read and who knows you might understand our species better. Yes it took me arguably long time to finish this. Still, this book is a bundle of facts and ideas that relevant to where human reside the most, i.e. cities. Reading this book gives me hope since it gives you issue following by a moving story happened on the other parts of the world to address the issue. You don't have to be interested in urban planning whatsoever to read this. Just read and who knows you might understand our species better.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Christopher L.

    The book is so much more than a manuscript about cities...it is a manifesto for aligning humanity not only with itself but with its surroundings. If you like books that weave a myriad of disciplines and perspectives into a well-researched and beautifully written argument, then read "The Well-Tempered City." The book is so much more than a manuscript about cities...it is a manifesto for aligning humanity not only with itself but with its surroundings. If you like books that weave a myriad of disciplines and perspectives into a well-researched and beautifully written argument, then read "The Well-Tempered City."

  23. 5 out of 5

    asih simanis

    This was a good book that tried to give us a broader perspective on cities. I found many interesting new information on it, but also found that as with many books at this size, it can at times be rather boring. Some chapters in the book are really interesting though and it is still worth reading just for an introduction to the topic of cities.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Elentarri

    This is an interesting introductory text to what townplanners and city management should be aiming for in dealing with city planning and management. However, I found the book too superficial and would have liked more detailed information, especially in terms of engineering specifics where some examples were used. The author also has a rather simplistic view of politics and human nature.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Cale Brodersen

    This book covered many different topics relating to humanity and the nature of cities, and through most of the book I was deeply interested. Because there were so many different ideas discussed, the depth of some topics and overall cohesion was sacrificed, but I think this is a very worthwhile read overall.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Duong Vu

    Reads more like a compilation of facts and abstracts than a deep discussion of a particular set of problems, case studies, and solutions. The author goes too far beyond his field of expertise in trying to cover history, philosophy, culture, biology, etc. while he could've focused on the things that really matter for such a book Reads more like a compilation of facts and abstracts than a deep discussion of a particular set of problems, case studies, and solutions. The author goes too far beyond his field of expertise in trying to cover history, philosophy, culture, biology, etc. while he could've focused on the things that really matter for such a book

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle R

    Truly essential. This book inspired me to see and understand my potential role as an architect/urban designer within the city in a whole new way. I look forward to integrate the learnings from this book into potential social infrastructure projects to bring access to previously underserved communities.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Meghann

    If you can get past the repetitive phrases, this book contains a wealth of insight into the functionality of cities and how we might improve upon them as population density, transportation and other resources become strained/ more of a focal point.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    God - I don't think this is anything like Jacob's work at all. Its like the exact opposite - his whole approach to understanding cities is extremely abstract and his whole idea feels very... off the top of his head. I think he needs to spend more time looking at cities. God - I don't think this is anything like Jacob's work at all. Its like the exact opposite - his whole approach to understanding cities is extremely abstract and his whole idea feels very... off the top of his head. I think he needs to spend more time looking at cities.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Brad

    Really liking this book this far

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.