The Classic Planning Institute ——————————————————————Urban consulting, diagnostics, biometrics, planning, urban design ————————————————————————– Town-and-country, and traditional building design ———————————————————————- Leading-edge research, training, and facilitation. —————————————————————–

Have we lost our urban balance?

Today’s urban environments concentrate health risks and introduce new hazards relating to water, environment, violence and injury. Hot button issues include food, water quality, affordable housing, pollution, transportation, densification, and sprawl. Troubled city centers, the lack of adequate public spaces and recreation facilities add to the mix. While we have to find better ways to collect and spend the billions necessary to simply solve those existing problems, a widening rural/urban divide seems to increase the threat of pandemic diseases.

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The City as an Opportunity

Knowing that the benefits of being prepared for the many challenges of the 21st century far outweighs the cost of recovering from them later, we recognize that planning for the long term is more cost effective than pursuing short term solutions..

Cities can uniquely make use of the opportunity presented by their being a single authority to identify and build more resilient systems. And indeed, they have been relying on more or less short-term perspectives.

But problem-solving, focused on problems defined in the past, is like walking backwards into the future. This Classic Planning® approach is a key to creating supportive and enabling environments for urban health and for the wellbeing and success of the citizenry because Classic Planning is how we built cities before planning ruined them.


Balancing Town and Country

Classic Planning is a paradoxically old but “radically new” way of thinking about how we build our environments.  Balancing town and country and reflecting the magic of place to create a legacy of beautiful places, Classic Planning is the humane alternative to the dystopias projected by todays media and planners.

We believe that in order to truly thrive, our cities and towns must bring to the table their citizens, leaders, professionals, and caretakers with a method that everyone can intuitively understand. Driven by community aspiration, and sustained by durable construction, it uses the shapes and proportions best suited to human biometrics, perception, and comfort, and ultimate functionality.


A Holistic Approach with a Long View

Classic Planning is a genuine holistic approach, “Problem Solving by Problem Avoidance,” a method that has worked well for 5,000 years, less the last 100 years when it we haven’t applied it. Together with you and your select group of forward-looking policy makers, we can help move your community towards its prosperous and equitable aspirational goals.

For a fraction of what it will cost to adopt a backward-looking problem solving approach , we will help you devise strong tools and provide a roadmap in a facilitated process, applying the most up-to-date, sophisticated eyetracking, biometric, and holistic planning methods available.


The Art of Classic Planning

book cover photo

An accomplished architect and urbanist goes back to the roots of what makes cities attractive and livable, demonstrating how we can restore function and beauty to our urban spaces for the long term.

“The Art of Classic Planning is truly the mother of all urban planning books.”   —Léon Krier, author of The Architecture of Community

“A veritable Bible of urbanism, Nir Buras’ The Art of Classic Planning challenges modernist teaching with classical principles.”   —Hillel Schocken, Former Dean, Azrieli School of Architecture, Tel Aviv University

“We urgently need to relearn the art of building beautiful and enduring communities, as set out in Nir Buras’ The Art of Classic Planning.”   —Ben Bolgar, The Prince’s Foundation

“The Art of Classic Planning is a new template for a human habitat with a plausible future that presents a much-needed and heroic corrective to the American wilderness of free parking, anxiety, and ennui.”   —James Howard Kunstler, author of The Geography of Nowhere and The Long Emergency

Nearly everything we treasure in the world’s most beautiful cities was built over a century ago and the errors of urban design over the last century are too great not to question. Cities like Prague, Paris, and Lisbon draw millions of visitors from around the world because of their exquisite architecture, walkable neighborhoods, and human scale. Yet ill-considered Modernist theories and reactions to them have caused a great deal of the knowledge and practice behind successful city planning to be abandoned. The solutions of “sustainability,” “walkability,” “smart,” and “green” technologies being offered today hint at what has been lost, but they remain piecemeal and superficial.

The Art of Classic Planning documents and illustrates with hundreds of full-color illustrations and photographs the time-tested and holistic practices that held sway before the reign of Modernism. Inspired by venerable cities like Kyoto, Vienna, and Venice, and by the great successes of L’Enfant’s Washington, Haussmann’s Paris, and Burnham’s Chicago, the book  restores and revitalizes the foundations of urban planning to arrive at clear guidelines for best practices in classic planning for today’s world.



Dr. Nir Buras

A recognized architect and urban design professional, Nir Buras is among a handful of architects and planners that have both classical knowledge and the experience in large, complex projects. He visited 100 cities to write the book.

Nir Buras is an architect and planner based in Washington, DC, with over 30 years of specialized experience in large, complex, and sensitive projects, strategic planning, architecture and transportation design, as well as teaching and lecturing. Projects include East Side Access at Grand Central Terminal, New York; International Terminal D, Dallas-Fort-Worth; the Washington DC Dulles Metro line; work on the US Capitol and the Senate and House Office Buildings in Washington.

Buras learned his first lesson in urbanism while planning in the Negev Desert in Israel – that modernist planning didn’t work. Mid-career he had the opportunity to study “why things look the way they do,” and while writing a PhD on modernism, he came out a classicist. Engaged in numerous projects since then, he has researched first-hand how architecture impacts urban planning.

Working in the 2000s on large urban projects, Buras’s breakthrough came in 2005 when he directed the Anacostia Plan at the open studio of the Washington Mid Atlantic Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Arts which he founded. After ten years of applying in practice what he learned, he now presents the urban design and planning method of Classic Planning with the hope of reintroducing beauty to cities.

Dr. Nir Buras brings to the table diverse expertise in civic, aviation, rail, and  commercial architecture and planning. Buras has the proven ability to quickly analyze key project issues, develop strategies to grow designs, and to work well within institutional, stakeholder and industry dynamics. His goal is to continue serving the cities of the world by helping their residents to understand better their cities and to help them overcome the challenges of the 21st Century by helping them develop consensual, 100-year classic plans.

Partial funding for the Classic Planning World Tour was provided by the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.


Advisory Board



CLASSIC PLANNING® is how we built cities before planning ruined them.

IT IS THE HUMANE ALTERNATIVE to the dystopias projected by todays media and planners.

IT BALANCES TOWN AND COUNTRY to reflect the magic of place and create a legacy of beautiful places.

DRIVEN BY COMMUNITY ASPIRATION, and sustained by durable construction, Classic Planning uses the shapes and proportions best suited to human biometrics, perception, and comfort.

THERE IS NO GOOD URBANISM WITHOUT GOOD ARCHITECTURE; and traditional and classical buildings make the best streets and places.

PLANNING FOR THE LONG TERM is more cost effective than pursuing short term solutions.

PROBLEM SOLVING focuses on problems defined in the past. It is like walking into the future backwards. Classic Planning is uniquely aspirational. It is forward looking.

OUR PURPOSE is to help people understand better their cities and help communities overcome the expected challenges of the 21st century.