Last April, our co-director Carmen Mendoza took part in a round table discussion following the presentation of the book The Well-Tempered City by leading US real estate developer and urban planner Jonathan F.P. Rose (Spanish version published by Antoni Bosch Editor) at the COAC – Architects’ Association of Catalonia. The round table, moderated by architect Maria Sisternas, furthermore included architects Antoni Sorolla and Ana Puig Pey.

In his book, Rose – also a founder of a jazz recording company – draws on the notion of “temperament” in musical theory to create harmony and aim for equality, resilience, adaptability and well-being in the development of our cities.

In an interview with City Lab, he named the five key qualities of a tempered city as being coherence, circularity, resilience, community and above all compassion. “Great cities have a healthy balance between individual and collective well-being. Compassion is an adaptive capacity, providing the connective tissue between us, the gateway to wholeness for ourselves and for society”.

As pointed out by Carmen Mendoza during the round table discussion, communities play a crucial role when talking about sustainable transition models. She also emphasised how important it is for both architects and urban planners to address not only the physical space of the cities but also the social space in their work.

“The goal of this book is to knit these threads – our technical 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 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.” – Excerpt from the book

This article is an adapted version of the blog article first published by the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture.

For some information, watch the video by Jonathan Rose Companies below.

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