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The Well-Tempered City

Book launch hosted by LSE Cities

In the Well-Tempered City Jonathan F. P. Rose discusses the rapidly changing times in which we are living – the mega trends of climate change, biodiversity loss, population growth, inequality, urbanization. globalisation, and financial influence effect every city in the world.

Today’s cities are technical marvels, reflecting civilization’s enormous scientific strides. Human creativity has produced unimagined power and prosperity, although that prosperity has come at a price: it is poorly distributed, and it is fostering the next great extinction. By the end of the 21st century, 80% of the world’s human population will live in cities. If we are to address these problems, cities must be part of the solution. We must knit these threads—our technical, cognitive and social potential and the generative power of nature—back together, toward a higher purpose for cities.

In a time of increasing volatility, complexity, and uncertainty, drawing on the musical concept of temperament, the well-tempered city will have the physical, social and economic 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 generative capacities. The seeds of these systems are present today in cities around the world. The purpose of this talk is to show how they might come together.

The talk will begin by describing the mega trends, and then the concept of temperament. Drawing first from the emergence of ancient cities, and then discussing contemporary cities, the talk  will then cover five themes to create more adaptive cities: Coherence, Circularity, Resilience, Community and Compassion.


  • Jonathan F.P. Rose

    Jonathan F.P. Rose

    Jonathan F. P. Rose works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build green 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 the urban issues facing us today. Rose’s work as founder of investment, development, and urban planning firm Jonathan Rose Companies has received awards from The Urban Land Institute, The American Institute of Architects, The American Planning Association, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, and many others. With his wife, Diana Calthorpe Rose, he is cofounder of the Garrison Institute and the creator of its Climate, Mind, and Behavior program.

  • Richard Sennett

    Richard Sennett

    Richard Sennett writes about cities and about labour. He is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Visiting Professor of Architecture at Cambridge University.  He is currently completing a trilogy of books about craftsmanship, the third volume of which, Making and Dwelling, is about the craft of urban design.  At LSE Cities, with Saskia Sassen and Richard Burdett, he is advising UN Habitat about the Habitat III the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development.