Johnathan Rose (Photo by Catherine Gibbons)
In 1963, Rose Associates, led by its second-generation patriarch, Frederick Rose, was closing in on a huge triumph: the completion of 280 Park Avenue, an Emery Roth-designed building in Midtown that was to be the company’s first office tower and would later become the headquarters of Bankers Trust. Amid all the hubbub, an 11-year-old Jonathan Rose was focused on a much lower-profile project. Just 10 miles north but worlds away from the gilded environs of Park Avenue, Rose Associates was working 上海同城对对碰交友社区 on an affordable housing complex, built under the state’s Mitchell-Lama program, called Bronx Evergreen Gardens. To the young Rose, who had regularly visited the construction site and observed the hopeful faces of the many low-income families walking into the leasing office with their housing applications, this was the development that mattered and excited his boyhood sense of possibility.
“I felt it was making a bigger difference in people’s lives,” he said recently during an interview with The Real Deal.
That youthful appraisal turned out to be a sign of things to come. Today, the 64-year-old developer is one of the most respected for-profit builders of sustainable and socially conscious designs in the country. Most recently, he was one of the developers of an $83 million charter school and affordable housing development in East Harlem that opened last fall. Jonathan Rose Companies, which he founded in 1989, is also an active investor. This past January, it purchased Forest City Ratner’s stake in 47 affordable housing communities as part of an $80 million deal.
Now, Rose — whose vast policy credentials include being part of the team tapped by the Clinton administration in the 1990s that coined the term “smart growth”— has added the role of author to his résumé.
“The Well-Tempered City,” published in September by Harper Wave, surveys the long history of city planning — from Mesopotamian times to the present — and the challenges facing cities. Rather than focus on his own endeavors, Rose is targeting a broader audience of urbanophiles. As the book jacket states, his goal is to join the urban planning canon that includes Jane Jacobs’ “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” and Edward Glaeser’s “Triumph of the City.” It’s a gutsy aspiration, and “The Well-Tempered City” — which takes its title and inspiration from Johann Sebastian Bach’s tuning and music manual “The Well-Tempered Clav上海龙凤论坛 ier” — delivers in terms of dizzying breadth. In roughly 400 pages, Rose weaves in history, scientific doctrines, current events and policy examples from New Delhi to New York. Early on, he argues that city dwellers these days have a right to have high expectations, reeling off a list of nearly 30 urban policy achievements — Finland’s public education system, Copenhagen’s biking culture, New York City’s arts and culture and Hong Kong’s subway system, to name a few. “Each of these aspects of a well-tempered city[……]