The Well-Tempered City

Artist Laurie Anderson, By the time I had finished Rose’s book, I began to see the city and the world around me in an entirely new light. I could not put this book down.”—Laurie Anderson, artist


NOAH LIKE. goes beyond … masterfully / a cerebral celebration of urban calibration

“the coming resource gap”

a mash up of hisotry lesson, science lesson, (music) lesson, economics lesson… the shoulders that city planning stands on… ascends through…

upbeat moments eg. The rise of global urban knowledge networks is rapidly spreading the DNA of solutions across urban ecologies.

The well-tempered city is not just a dream. a pathway through resource constraints, population growth, climate change, inequality, migrations and other threatening megatrends.

“Well-tempered cities will be refuges from volatility” bend the arc of their development towards …

“Contemporary cities are only beginning to ask what is true well-being, and how we can achieve (harmony).

No common operating language.

coherence, circularity, resilience*, community, compassion

+ nine C’s: matter just as much today as they did when cities were emerging

(three attributes that can guide movement toward coherence)
complexity – diversity achieved by mixing uses and mixing incomes
connectivity – through multiple means of mass and personslied transportation systems concentration (densification)


  • the ability to bounce forward when stressed.

“We are not working at a scale that is meeting the challenges of our times”.

LENS… most cities lack an integrated platform to support the growth of every child.

page 19 description: funding by complex public and private funding, Rose and colleagues coordinate the work of dozens of consultants, architects, engineers and contractors to crate projects that model the solutions to make cities happier, healthier and more equitable.

projects that became early models for the green affordable housing, transit-oriented development, green building, and smart growth movements.

creating successful models and promoting their lessons as widely as possible.

there is an eager audience for solutions that are financially viable and help solve social and environmental challenges.

philosophy that emerges is one of striving to improve people’s lives and abusing nature less.

Jog blues – find RNZ interview with Kim Hill and choirmaster

would have liked more about his own life, Anasazi village in New Mexico, 1974 journey to the Himalayas, working his way across Asia as a bus mechanic… then grad school at the Univ of Pennsylvania to study regional planning with Ian McHarg, author of Design with Nature (1969)


dotted with other important encounters such as one with biologist G. Evelyn Hutchinson


Well temperament opened up all of the keys to a composer.

Most of our cities have lost their original higher purpose(s)

ways that continually restore the city’s social and natural capital.

disaster of the 1950s… Wilhelmina Ring, Bijlmermeer, St Louis’s Pruitt Ingoe

schemes that largely failed because they concentrated poverty, isolated residents from services and limited opportunity for small businesses.

deeply subsidised convention centres are prone to failure where planners fail to recognise that “economic vitality functions at several scales in an overlapping complex system” where small businesses are as “essential as new housing and grand mixed-use centers”.

survival of those things that fit best together. the fitness of parts. neighbourhoods as ecosystems. those that fit best thrive.

defies an instant distillation ..

drawing connections between the concept of ecological niches as a “useful way to think about neighbourhoods as nested int he systems of the city, its region, the nation, and the earth”.

the difference betwen complicated systems and complex systems. a reminder drawn from planning professors W.J. Rittel and Melvin Webber that “planning problems are inherently wicked”.

Rose regrets that the unpopularity of city and regional planning in the 1970s took planners away from proposing transformational visions to becoming process managers – “implementing the zoning codes that fragemented cities rather than intergrating them into a coherent whole”.

lost the higher ideal of planning that would be focused on gains in human happiness. became awash with and subsumed by suburbs.

borrows the US term volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – grouped together as VUCA by the U.S. military.

Neighbourhoods where residents suffer from the stresses of poverty, racism, and trauma, toxins, housing instability are less able to del with the issues of a VUCA age.

In a VUCA world, traditional planning fails because it does not adapt quickly enough.

“For a city to truly fulfill its potential, all those within it must share a common altruistic purpose, the betterment of the whole ..”.

“At the physical level, the well-tempered city increases itse resilience by integrating urban technology and nature. At the operational level it increases its resilience by developing rapidly adapting systems that co-evolve in dynamic balance with megatrends, preserving the well-being of both the human and natural systems. And at the spiritual level, temperament integrates our quest for a purpose with the aspiration for wholeness”.

grows from integration of information, feedback systems , and an intention, or direction, toward which coherence flows. 

On the premise that many of the keys to the future can be found in the past.

cognitive biases… minds that evolved to value present conditions more highly than we do future ones. (hyperbolic discounting).

[towards more of a hivemind

“Every aspect of city-making is dependent upon our cognition. We need all of the pure intelligence and “large working memory” we can muster.

JOURNEYS BACK IN TIME  to the social intelligence and skills that were critical when it came to making cities.

side by side with the collapse of cities and empires was often a loss of equilibrium between their society and the ecological system that supported it such as growing beyond their water supply or depleting their productive soil. Mayan civilisation’s implosion. and furthermore a failure to adapt their governance systems and cutlural practices to changing circumstances. perfect storm of internal and external calamities.

cyclical impacts of climate change, pre millennial

origin stories of cities. through to the onset of warring nations and rapacious wealth seeking.

“When cities state their most ambitious goals, it seems to make them more achievable”. BIG FAN OF SINGAPORE.

the assimilation of cities under the Roman Empire. contrast of Eastern and Western mental model for city planning.

“By creating easily sellable lots, Western cities became profitable real estate ventures. – the “shadow side” being that it failed to see the whole, labeling anything outside its domain an externality.

.. significant shifts in worldviews such as the Axial Age.
> the golden age of Islamic cities a harbinger of the key qualities of thriving cities today, “by applying a flexible planning structur that balanced opportunity and pleasure with modesty, spirituality and altruism”.

The Hanseatic League – Lubecks’ charter/ Lubeck’s Law =  the constitution of a municipal form of government after it was made a free city in 1226.

moves to a uniform urban vocabulary
– sanitary reform movement
– urban parks movement
– garden city movement
– New York’s housing reform movement
– City Beautiful movement – noting that “Amercia’s public realm in most cases became what was left over after private development. Not until the beginning of the 21st century would most U.S. cities again actively design their streets as public spaces”.

1909 Plan of Chicagor (Daniel Burnham)

steps to inspire land use, not just regulate it

high watermarks for U.S. environmental legislation such as the National Envrionmental Policy Act (enacted 1970), Clean Air act (1970) and Clean Water Act (1972)

LAND PLANNING ACT less fortunate /

“By almost every measure, overall human and environmental health under the purview of the NEPA has declines since its passage”, citing symptomatic place-based lifestyle illnesses, traffic congestion, loss of biodiversity and soil health and inexorable rise in greehnhouse gas emissions.

“The problem our contemporary cities face begins with the lack of a coherent vision of their well-being along with the lack of a practical framework for bringing it into being.

Throughout hisotry the world’s greatest cities emerged in civilisations with urban cultures that integrated diversity with a fabric of connectivity, guided by a sense of purpose articulated as a grand vision.

“the city-planning tools of the twentieth century were not designed to deal with climate change, population growth, resource depletion and the other megatrends

The five-thousand-year old form of the city was transformed into one that was both higher and wider. … attributed to Frank J. Sprague’s inventions.. sometimes called the forgotten hero of the American subway.

The all-too brief golden age of trams / streetcars before the automobile had, by 1924, captured the American imagination and staged its relentless takeover.

footnotes of history eg. Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, the Homestead Act encouraged Western migration by providing settlers 160 acres of public land. In exchange, homesteaders paid a small filing fee and were required to complete five years of continuous residence before receiving ownership of the land.

covers the foundations of U.S. housing policy up to and including the GFC-inducing era of subprime mortgages .. and the long-lasting negative impacts of the deep locational and  racial bias running through a Federal housing finance system tilted against city residents.

millions of suburban homes were built for a false market

“monocultural zoning became a significant contributor to the twentieth century problems of suburban sprawl, traffic jams, few live-work-play communities, inefficient land use, and extraordinary environmental degradation.

ref Harry Truman: “The failure to pass decent housing legislation is a sad disappointment…”

many cities still have vacant urban renewal sites from the slum clearance programmes of the 1950s and 60s. adding that many of these demolished neighbourhoods were once graced by historic buildings that just needed refurbishing.

PATTERNS of destruction and dysfunction

skewed to single-family home owners and away from low to moderrate income rental housing.

(future reading eg

familiar parallels eg. highway planners obviating or resisting efforts to integrate or foresee … mutlimodal transport… slashing roadways right through cities… “lack of diversity of adequate transportation options”

21st century cities that plan in ways that provide opportunities for all of their residents, including their immigrants, are doing far better than those that isolate them or fail to serve their basic needs. The latter are sowing seeds of discontent that will inevitably yield a dark harvest of social turbulence.

hopefulness… the return of mass transit. denser development around transit stations…

ON THE MONEY new light-rail systems are being planned as parts of larger regional systems connecting to airports and city-center train stations. .. (but) such systems require decades of consistent political support. MAYORS.

the elements that gave rise to cities are key elements of their restitution.


Great city-making requires leadership but also, today, much broader participation.

politicians follow the wind; if you change the wind, they will follow. – Cornell Univ law professor Gerald Torres, speaking to Garrison Institute.

As planning became more technical, the number of residents who really understood the choices at hand and participated int he planning process shrank., leaving a few loud voices, NIMBY neighbours, and those who stood to gain financially to have the most influence.

moral authority gained by Envision Utah  > scenario thinking, quantifying the benefits and liabilities of each plan… and putting all of the projected growth on the map. Environmentalists, fiscal conservatives, religious groups, developers, and city officials all had data that spoke to their issues.

Edmonton’s community health indicators

PlaNYC – 127 initiatives grouped into 10 categories ..
goal of planting one millions new trees
The growing amount of available data helped make the plan’s objectives measurable and its agencies accountable. It also helped everyone be more effective.
Big Data / AI … p.138

Seven primary levers of governance that will lead to success only if collectively they become part of the city’s social and cultural DNA. these and their operating systems need to be dynamically tuned.

  1. an aspirational vision > 7. must be communicated.
  2. a master plan
  3. data collection
  4. regulations
  5. incentives
  6. investments

Investment in infrastructure provides the framework on which the vision unfolds.

replace last century sets of static and unintegrated zoning and environmental review systems that can’t keep up with the challenges of a volatile and complex world.

example of illegal apartment conversions > actionable analytics

A smart city uses digital technologies or information and communication technologies to enhance the quality and performance of urban services, to reduces costs and resource consumption, and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens. squeezing out inefficiencies, finding patterns…  adding that cities need to be able to function “on manual” as well.

use of “agent-based models” (?)

our cities mimic the general aspects of biocomplex systems. The best cities of the future will incorporate nature’s regenerative qualities.

asserts that biocomplexity provides the bst model for city planning and development systems to be able to adapt to the volatility ahead.

concept of metagenome. and continuous feedback loops between the current adaptive needs of the system and its individual and collective DNA. The physical expressions of a city – its buildings, streets, and infrastructure – are its proteome. The total metabolism of a system is its metabolomics.

Cities must also encourage a wider range of innovation – the richer the gene pool of solutions, the greater the adapative capacity of the city.

transforms linear systems into regenerative ones. A circular economy shifts a city from linear industrial systems to cyclical, regenerative systems. It’s a key strategy for cities to thrive in this century, a pathway through the challenges of climate change and resource constraints.

There are four pathways in a regional circular economy:

  1. Making goods that are maintainable and repairable.
  2. Reducing use through behaviours like collaborative consumption.
  3. Refurbishing and remanufacture.
  4. Creating the regulations, incentives and infrastructure to develop markets and industries that recycle unused or waste materials.

no city/ planet can assimilate without limit the untreated wastes of its civilization – Abel Wolman (Baltimore / The Wire!) > planted the seeds of several important ideas > gave rise to the field of industrial ecology

Calculating the flow of nutrients, energy, and other materials into a city is enormously complex. In fact, even establishing the amount of energy and materials needed to create a single building is exceedingly complicated. .. the metabolic boundary of just one building extends far beyond its physical boundary.

The metabolism of China’s cities mirrors Rome’s.

EROI = energy return on investment. tied to the very process of urbanisation.

Five steps to improve a city’s metabolic resilience: (read alongside 7 levers)

  1. Track its metabolic inputs and outputs from source to destination.
  2. Use imported resources more efficiently, so that fewer are needed.
  3. Diversify sources of food, water, energy and materials.
  4. Generate more resources within the city, which also has the benefit of creating more jobs.
  5. Recycle and reuse as much of its waste as possible.

EXAMPLES of NYC Hunts Point Food Market

Detroit, Lagos, Baltimore
Loveland Technologies

the life cycle of food production / the critical link bertween fresh vegetables, fruit, and nuts and health.

STARK REMINDERS. Today no city in the world generates enough food to feed itself.

Hanoi and Havana are the two most food-productive cities in the world, using small gardens woven throughout their tropical urban landscapes.

Detroit was site of first municipally sponsored urban garden programme in the U.S. in the 1890s.

Urban agriculture comes with overlapping benefits. It increases the EROI of food production, diversifies a city’s economic base and “grow not just food, but community”.

A key lesson from ecological economics is to keep an eye on waste: less waste means greater efficiency.

When people receive relatively real-time feedback about their behaviour they are much more likely to change.

As the metropolitan tide sweeps across the world, and climate change progresses, every city is facing metabolic challenges. And to resolve them, cities are going to have to think, plan, build and operate their infrastructure differently.

Spare infrastructure capacity is essential for urban resilience. History of urban public health infrastructure, including the co-evolution of water, wastewater and storm-water treatment systems.

Today, municiapl wastewater treatment is beginning to adopt the zero-waste goals of the solid-waste world. Where land is available there is also a trend toward smaller distributed systems rather than larger megasystems.

In the Southwest, water-challenged cities are paying residents to rip up their lawns and replace them with xeriscapes, gardens made of native desert plants and grasses that don’t need watering.

The benefits of minimising water use have even bigger impacts in the world’s newly emerging cities. reducing demand will be essential.

In a world shaped by climate change-induced droughts, rapid population growth, and a burgeoning middle class, water usage is likely to dramatically increase. One piece of the solution is to clean wastewater to potable standards and reuse it. (It works but few examples in practice) disgust bias > countered by calling it groundwater replenishment.

Also points to a growing tension between agricultural and municipal users of water. Example of Mesa, Arizona and Singapore’s ‘four taps’ water-supply system.

  1. extensive reservoir system – with strategy of taking land formerly occupied by roads and converting it to reservoirs and open spaces
  2. desalinated water
  3. recycled sewer water – labeled NEWater
  4. imported water

… a fifth would be rainwater capture, already a key component of the green building tool kit.

If properly designed infrastructure can begin to restore the natural systems that cities so often degrade. Infrastructure systems are time shifters, providing benefits not just for the present, but for the future, too.

A res;onse to globalisation is not isolation, it is infrastructure.

is the adaptive capacity of a system to deal with stress and volatility, and in social systems has the added capacity in humans to anticipate and plan for the future.

The combination of climate change, income inequality and selfish governance is toxic to the health of cities, and often leads to collapse.

drought as a root cause of the civil war that is destroying Syria.

(warning bell) that only cities with an ability to rapidly adapt or evolve will thrive under the enormous and volatile changes of the coming century.

“The most effective strategies are to dramatically increase the beneficial buffering role of nature within and around out cities, and to make our buildings themselves greener and more resilient.

the case for nature and natural infrastructure.

the Garden in the city + trivia such as 1637 being the year that King Charles I opened Hyde Park to all, and London’s great public parks movement was born.

concept of an emerald necklace (cf Wellington’s town belt

The community garden movement rose in parallel with the frowht of not-for-profit community development companies… and now touches almost every city in North America. and its scale has grown enough to make it a meaningful element of city metabolism.

Parks, greenmways and gardens, it turns out, are among the most cost-effective ways to simultaneously improve prublic health, create client resilience and increase economic value…. all at a much lower cost than traditional civil engineering.

+ proven correlations between a city’s walkability and exercise. and the firmly established link between urban nature and mental health.

(small swipe at Rudy Giuliani) foiled by efforts of Trust for Public Land, and the New York Restoration Project

Braess Paradox = adding capacity could actually slow down the speed of the network.

For an ecosystem to thrive it needs to avoid “limiting similarity” and reduction of the variety of its interconnections. Alas not many of the world’s urban parks are particularly biodiverse.

Aichi-Nagoya Declaration – 4 vital ideas:

  • biodeiverse ecosystems provide important services to cities – such as purifying water supplies, reducing flooding and mitigating rising temperatures.
  • the well-being of ecosystems and urban populations is deeply interlinked
  • cities that shift the methods of production, distribution and consumption of natural resources can make a major contribution to the recovery of the planet’s health
  • local governments need to work in partinership with citieznes, businesses, NGOs and across government

a plea for the retention and return of depleted and endangered wetlands. Rotterdam example of restoring its natural wetlands ( Seattle’s waterfront park.

NYC – reservoirs strategy and Greenstreets program and pledge to plant and grow a billion oysters in NY Harbor by 2035 –

Rebuild by design
– Living Breakwaters project
– Hunts Point Lifelines Team / South Bronx Greenway

As climate change accelerates, cities are increasingly turning to innovative combinations of technical and natural infrastructure to solve urban environmental issues in affordable ways.

Greening a city’s buildings is a high-leverage place to intervence to reduce the energy and water use of its buildings. (a pitch for green buildings and green urbanism..

Referencing  E.F. Schumacher’s term “appropriate technologies” – technical systems that are small-scale, decentralised, labor-intensive, energy-efficient, environmentally sound, and locally controlled.

Focus on the 99% of existing building stock, with simple fixes. weatherizing homes.

If a nation wants to become more resilient in the face of climate change, economic voltality, or potential energy shortages, the easiest place to begin is with energy-efficiency retrofits of its existing buildings.

WEF Green Investment Report: “The challenge will be to enable an unprecedented shift in long term investment from conventional to green alternatives to avoid locking in less efficient, emissions intensive technologies for decades to come”.

Almost half of all new buildings valued over $50 million are being LEED certified but this is concentrated at the higher end of the market.

(Sweet spot) The greening of affordable housing. Enterprise Green Community Gudielines –


“By 2020 it is very likely that all new affordable housing built in the U.S. will be built green, the first building sector ever to meet this goal.

(flagships/ business case) VIA VERDE = Jonathan Rose Companies, with the design by the architecture firms Dartner Architects and Grimshaw.

MAITRI ISSAN HOUSE in 1997 with the Greyston Foundation. Designed for people with HIV/ AIDS.

“With Via Verde we set out to see if we could not only provide energy-efficient affordable housing in a transit-rich location, but also improve health outcomes for its residents.

Screen Shot 2018-05-08 at 5.26.06 AM

Unit layouts include flats, innovative duplexes, and live-work units with a first-floor workspace.

argues that “when green building strategies are able to generate multiple benefits like these, they are rapidly adopted into the mainstream of development practice.

Alex Wilson – “passive survivability”.

People, buildings, communities and cities need to be designed to function when they’re disconnected. They need to be able to survive when urban systems go down.

Idea that doctors in Boston are now authorised 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.

(belief) The way we build is not enough, the way that we live also matters. Many behaviours are the result of designs that could easily be improved with strategies like choice architecture/ behavioural economics.

When a city makes its environmental goals explicit and thinks through how to encourage behaviour shifts, it gets the best results.

HAT TIP to the Living Building Challenge and the extraordinary questions it puts forward. First building to meet the LBC was the Bullitt Centre in Seattle, opened in 2014.

Microgrids can integrate several sources of power, especially as battery technology improves/ extended power networks… connecting cities to remote solar, widn and hydro energy resources. Neighbourhood=scaled microgrids are becoming increasingly viable.

A meshed energy/ information network. emergy (emergy memory and ecodistricts require us to think differently, where every building connected to integrated systems become both a producer and consumer of heat. Recognising that buildings are co-dependent.

COMMUNITY – creating communities of opportunity / tying it all together

(etymology) the gift of being together and returning home from our ventures to a safe harbour. The community must have a culture of we-ness, of collaboration, recognising our mutual dependence. Noting at one point that the most influential people are not always the most powerful; they are often the most collaborative.

Social networks can be mapped. We know that individuals are deeply influenced by social netowrks; individual choice is not pure. Neither are markets, which never have complete information and can never value all consequences of an action.

Neoclassical economics’ partial understanding of the true nature of system has led to tremendous environmental damange, to the treacherous global financial crise of 2008, and to the destablising rise of income inequality thereafter.

If an economic system can be constructed that begins to connect companies to their systemic impacts, then companies could not only be penalised for costs they impose on others, but also benefit from savings. ref emerging movement to connect housing and health, and to reward healthy, stable, affordabel housing for the reductions in local health0care costs that it produces. NEVER QUITE STATES THAT HE’S PART OF ANY MOVEMENT.

Social contagion/ six degrees of separation and three degrees of influence.

Understanding the power of social networks has enormous implicwtions for generating positive health outcomes in cities.

The size and shape of our individual and community networks, and our position in them, have a great deal to do with our health, our economic prospects , and out overall well-being. The spread of behaviours across a community of people can be nudged, or intentionally stimulated.

The strength of weak ties/ Trust matters. Ernets Fuhr, neuro-economist: most people are “conditional altruits who will cooperate if they believe that others will reciprocate”.

The most vital cities have a culture of coopetition, weaving competition into a strong fabric of cooperation. As Darwin observed, groups that are internally altruistic will always outcompete non-altruistic groups.

Breaking norms – great terms like “positive deviants” – from a nutrition researcher Marian Zierlin in reference to outliers within communities. Prooving that changes in attitude follow changes in bheaviour, not the other way around.

Social health. Neighbourhood effects. It turns out that just as people affect their neighbourhoods, neighbourhoods affect people too. Factors that affect the quality of neighbourhoods are the perception of disorder, and collective efficacy.

Collective efficacy is the shared belief that a social netowrk or group can get things done for the benefit of the community. Dense personal ties and the social contagion of behaviour help facilitate collective efficacy, but they do not cause it. It requires pro-social leadership, a shared culture of altruism, the presence of trust, and few freeloaders. It also seems to be strongly correlated with altruism, and with low levels of moral cynicism.

The good news is that when a city focuses on improving the health, safety and well-being of a given neighbourhood, the effect of that improvement will spread by three degrees.

Different types of capital: Social capital, bonding capital, bridging capital, linking capital. Bridging capital is needed to expand the community’s gene pool of ideas and relationships, and linking capital is needed to expand its ability to bring in adaptive resources, which is increasingly important in combating the physical and social disconnections of poverty.

Parable of Birmingham, Atalanta. Fates and fortunes.


It’s just no possible to build a well-tempered society on an unstable base. Safe, affordable, toxin-free housing is an essential precondition.

“Is the American dream large enough so that every one of our children has the opportunity to live in a safe, affordable home?”

Cities, at their core, are places to live. Housing comes with a second cost that also disproportionately affects low-wage earners: transportation. Adding to this burden they are likely to live in poorly insulated, energy-inefficient homes with huge utility costs. + vulnerabilities like empty saving accounts. + beset by many other stressors.

In common between U.S. and NZ. A stock of affordable rental units that is older, and in very poor condition. to make matters worse, while demand is going up, the supply of affordable housing is shrinking.

Triple whammy. Volatile macrotrends add episodic stresses to the endemic ones. citing Hurrican Katrina, Superstorm Sandy, factory closures or waves of housing foreclosure… endemically stressed communities and their social service systems are overwhelmed.

+ ACE. At risk of becoming more frayed is the “cognitive security essential to children’s healthy growth”. A litany of adverse childhoold experiences. prvalent all over the world, and particularly concentrated in low-income communities. The negative affects of chaotic living situations, overcrowding, excessive noise, and transience. + housing evictions. + environmental toxins. “There is not a great deal of work on the combined effect of toxic stress and toxic chemicals on cognition, but it cannot be good”

The corrosive damage wrought by overwhelming family or neighbourhood trauma can be overcome.

If we are going to successfully address the epidemic of ACEs and toxic stress, we’re going to have to protect the helping professionals who come in contact with the victims. Caring for caregivers, it turns out, is an essential leverage point in creating healthy communities. Telling it like it is, breaking the cycle. 

We need to invest in all aspects to sever the roots of ACEs, toxic stress and vicarious trauma, to preempt unsustainable human, social, and economic costs later on. And these need to be accompanied by rigorous regulations to remove environmental toxins from our buildings, food, soils, water and air.

Every step we take to relieve the toxic causes and conditions of economick, pyschological and spiritual poverty for even one child provides relief from those conditions for all of us.

 Four strategies to combat toxic stress. > through to expanding science of happiness… 

  1. A stable base = housing. Expand federal programmes, dramatically increase investments to imrpove low-income neighbourhoods “so that every child can grow up in a community of opportunity”, raise the minimum wage and increase access to higher education… + redirect housing subsidies away from wealthier familes toward the working poor.
  2. Exercise.
  3. Mental quiet and space.
  4. Being part of a community with supportive, healthy human connections.

Our early cities appear to have been fairly egalitarian. cf cities and coutnries with rising incomes that have been confronted by the paradox of unhappy growth.

FACTOIDs. As the size of a city doubles, the number of things to buy increases by 20 percent, and their cost declines by 4.2 percent. (

p.346 One of the key challenges of cities in the twenty-first century is to develop economies that generate stimulating, productive work for all of their residents. ++

Plato: “Extreme povery and wealth must not be allowed to rise in any section of the citizen-body because both lead to disasters”.

(segue to Arab Spring../ Occupy Wall Street movement.. protests over inequality.. those who felt they were unjustly deprived of opportunity by corruption, racial discrimination, or other structural barriers int heir political systems and economies.

Cities are cauldrons of opportunity, but their overall happiness is dependent on the degree to which that opporutnity is open to to all their inhabitants. People can intuitively tell when access to opportunity is unfrairly distributed, but it can also be measured: The Gini Index.

New York City’s Gini coefficient is the same as Sao Paulo’s. It seems that if you want to live in a city but want to enjoy the happiness that comes from income equality, you would do better in a mid-sized one.

One of the first ways to improve opportunity for all communities is to provide them with effective mass transit. Income inequality in cities always has a spatial dimension, reflected in their more and less prosperous neighbourhoods.

Those cities most conducive to upward mobility share several traits including more residential integration. MIXED INCOME MESSAGE, even adding “Interestingly, communities that provided more opportunity for poor children also helped wealthier children do better”. Bergen County.

An underperforming U.S. = the absence of a system that integrates housing, health care, social services and healthy food systems, made available to everyone.

Educational equality has two primary components: access and quality.

There is a disconnect in the U.S. between what is being taught and the education needed to thive in a VUCA world. Attributes which we have been calling the soft social and cognitive skills are the hard skills cities need from their citizens and leaders.

Parable of Louisville, Detroit.

Rose’s work with Will Goodman [chief of staff] to match metrics to the ways that a well-tempered balance of  prosperity, equality and happiness can be measured. Came up with top ten US metropolitan areas, all medium-sized communities.

The most enduring cities envision, grow, and maintain an extraodinary civic realm. libraries, museums, art centres, parks, sports stadiums…

(wlll-trodden stories… Curitiba

Toward the purpose of cities = well-being, not efficiency. Our current economic system is based on flawed premises: that markets are efficient, and that efficiency, in itself, will produce the best society – wherease the efficient market exacerbates inequality.

It knows what Oscare Wilde called the price of everything and the value of nothing.

Wynton Marsalis: “The reason things fall apart is that people create things to celebrate themselves rather than embrace the whole”.

Complex systems, like cities, thrive when they are optimised. A city is optimised when all of its components are thriving – the ecology in which it is nested, the metabolism that sustains it, the regiont hat contains it, and tis people and businesses. To achieve this, city leaders need to focus on optimising the whole, not the parts. Seeking wholeness, the city begins to become more naturally adaptive to the VUCA world.

FUNDING THE WELL-TEMPERED CITY > BONDS / capital and operating budgets

COMPASSION provides the will to imagine and create a better future for all?

Cities infused with altruism are more trusting, inclusive and tolerant.; have stronger, more diverse volunteer networks; are better able to plan for their future; and can take the necessary steps to carry out thoswe plans effectively.

What if a city were to follow through on the idea of being designed to work, first and foremost, for children through every project, department and plan?

What if we added the health of nature to the city’s purpose – inspiring it to restore the wetlands at its water’s edges, and weave nature into its streets?

The current state of many of our cities is an unfit fitness. They may be sufficiently adapted for short-term growth, but they lack the adaptive capacitty to thrive in the high stress environment of the future.

Lisbon after 1 November 1755: engineer Manuel de Maia’s plan mandated that each block in a neibhourhood be built to a universal design, permitting building components such as widows and doors to be mass-produced. Lisbon’s reconstruction gave birth to the field of modern urban planning, integrating both resistance and resilience to future disasters. The reimagination of Lisbon, with symmertical streets radiating from squares, standardized building blocks and an overall sense of harmony becamse a model for the great Haussmann plan of Paris and much that was to follow.

a book that presents an array of solutions (x10) needed for cities to address the coming megatrends. p387/88

Notes that many of the programmes run by NGOs that enchance the collective of cities, are working independently of one another. >> studies into collective impact, and collective impact model.

Cities are magnificently entangled. Rose calls altruistically directed interdependence “entwinement”.

Among h=is enduring influences is Tibetan Buddhist lama Nawang Gehlek Rimpoche , a nephew of the 13th DalaiLama who was tutored by many of the same masters who tutored the current (14th) Dalai Lama.

Click to access 2014_jchs_dunlop_lecture_jonathan_rose.pdf


Other reference points eg.

Urban Footprint – a library of 35 different place types and 50 building types.

NextBus, Waze,,

Other angles:

Chch: edible city >

Factchecks… San Franciso recylces 80% of its garbage. (Recology)



01 May 2018

The Waste Minimisation Fund is now open for applications for the 2018 contestable funding round until Monday 14 May at 12pm.

This year we are encouraging applicants to focus on initiatives that will accelerate New Zealand’s transition towards the circular economy.