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- December 1, 2016: Vol. 28, Number 11

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The five qualities of a well-tempered city: Lessons from J.S. Bach

by Jonathan Rose

1 The first quality of urban temperament is coherence, which can be seen at work in the temperament used by Johann Sebastian Bach to compose The Well-Tempered Clavier. Just as an equalizing tuning system permitted 24 different musical scales to integrate and to influence one another for the first time, so cities need a framework to unify their many disparate programs, departments and aspirations. For example, we know that the best future for children is shaped by the stability of their families and housing, the quality of their schools, their access to healthcare, the quality of the food they eat, the absence of environmental toxins, and their connection to nature, yet each of these may fall under the mandate of a separate city agency. Most cities lack an integrated platform to support the growth of every child. Integration is the base of the first benefit of temperament. When a community has a vision, and a plan for how to carry it out, and is able to coherently int

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