[Garrison, New York – January 11, 2024] – Jonathan F.P. Rose has been awarded Bhutan’s prestigious Druk Thuksey (“Order of the Beloved of the Thunder Dragon”) Medal, the highest honor the country can bestow upon non-Bhutanese. Jonathan is the Garrison Institute’s co-founder, President of Jonathan Rose Companies, a noted expert in sustainable development and regenerative communities, and Chair of Bhutan’s International Advisory Board for Urban Development. He shares the award with his colleague, a Director and Planning Team Lead of the London-based master planning practice Prior + Partners, who also happens to be named Jonathan Rose.
At a National Day ceremony celebrating the founding of modern Bhutan, His Majesty King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck presented the Druk Thuksey Medal to both Jonathan Roses for their services to the country in helping create and implement the Thimphu Structure Plan, a framework for sustainable development in Bhutan’s rapidly urbanizing capital city.
Formally adopted by the Bhutanese government in October 2023, the Plan provides a measurable, comprehensive guide to growing the city of Thimphu utilizing regenerative building strategies and balancing essential human needs within the limits of responsible ecological stewardship.
“Jonathan Rose Companies has been dedicated to regenerating the environmental and social qualities of communities to create Communities of Opportunity across the United States,” Jonathan F.P. Rose said. “It is a privilege to bring this experience to a nation so deeply committed to the core principles of environmental and social wellbeing.”
Over the past twenty years, Thimphu has experienced rapid population growth and accelerating urbanism, placing acute pressure on the region’s natural and cultural resources, resulting in a declining quality of life for many residents.
In 2017, after reading Jonathan F.P. Rose’s book The Well-Tempered City, His Majesty the King asked him to assemble an international team of experts to address Thimpu’s challenges. Jonathan co-led that team with the “other” Jonathan Rose of Prior + Partners, and recruited members of the engineering firm Arup, and the surveyor and property consulting firm Gerald Eve. Over the next five years, the team spent substantial time in Bhutan, collaborating with planners in Bhutan’s Ministry of Works and Human Settlement to create a plan for regenerative, sustainable development of Thimpu.
More information on the Plan is posted here. It aims to implement Bhutan’s national commitments to affordable housing, economic development, and improved quality of life while conserving its natural capital and advancing carbon stewardship, community action, water and food security, energy security and diversification of energy portfolio, and decarbonization of transport. As a climate leader and one of only three carbon-negative nations in the world, Bhutan also hopes the Plan will offer a model of green urbanization for other developing nations.
This effort aligns with Bhutan’s foundational aspiration of maximizing Gross National Happiness (a metric which deliberately transcends GDP growth), enshrined in its constitution since 2008. It also aligns with the Garrison Institute’s Pathways to Planetary Health initiative, which Jonathan F. P. Rose founded. The Pathways initiative recognizes that the well-being of people and the Earth are deeply interconnected and interdependent, and explores changes in human systems that center the commons and the common good.
One other significant connection between Bhutan and the Garrison Institute occurred when Jonathan Rose of Prior + Partners introduced one of Bhutan’s most distinguished Buddhist teachers, His Eminence the Gyalwa Dhokampa, to Jonathan F. P. Rose and Institute co-founder Diana Calthorpe Rose. They invited him to New York, and the Garrison Institute began hosting annual Tara retreats led by His Eminence, which lucidly bridge the teachings of Vajrayana Buddhism and Western culture. His Eminence will return to the Institute to lead the next Tara retreat in late June 2024. More information and registration will be posted soon on the Garrison Institute website.
The Buddhist Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan is one of the three carbon negative nations in the world. The size of Switzerland, Bhutan stretches from high mountains in its north, to the Indian plains in the South. Its magnificent forests and biodiversity has been significantly preserved. In 1972, the 4th King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, proposed that for Bhutan, Gross National Happiness was more important than Gross National Product, introducing the idea that sustainable development should balance the economic, cultural, health and spiritual aspects of well-being.
About the Garrison Institute
The Garrison Institute is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization whose mission is to apply the skills and wisdom cultivated through contemplative practice, together with the insights emerging from science, to today’s urgent social and environmental challenges, leveraging transformational change and helping build a more compassionate, resilient future. It is part of an emerging field of innovative changemaking organizations working to apply wisdom arising from contemplation to new action strategies for transformative social and environmental change.
About Jonathan Rose Companies
Jonathan Rose Companies is one of America’s leading developers and investors in sustainable, affordable, and mixed-income multifamily real estate, with nearly 19,000 units owned. Founded in 1989, Jonathan Rose Companies is a mission-driven company focused on enhancing the health and wellness of its residents with green, energy-efficient property improvements and through its Communities of Opportunities programming. Jonathan Rose Companies has developed or acquired more than $4.5 billion of real estate.