How The Musical Theories Of Bach Can Design A ‘Well-Tempered’ Denver

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Photo: Denver Skyline2 wide (HV)
The Denver skyline and the Rocky Mountains.

Urban living will be a reality for most people in the not-too-distant future. Reports say 80 percent of the world's population will live in cities by 2080. That means planners will have to grapple with population growth, affordability, even food production. To prepare, Denver city leaders have turned to something unexpected.

The musical theories of J.S. Bach.


That's Bach's E Minor Fugue from the Well Tempered Clavier. The composer's idea was to tune notes in a way that created harmony across musical scales. It revolutionized musical composition.

But what does that have to do with city planning? Quite a bit says urban planner and author Jonathan F.P. Rose. He's worked with Denver on a number of revitalization projects including the Denver Dry Goods building downtown.

His new book is called "The Well Tempered City." He spoke to Colorado Matters Host Nathan Heffel.