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About us

The Classic Planning Institute is a traditional architecture and urban design consultancy, an academy of traditional architecture and classic urban planning, and a community of practice. The Institute also has a lab which studies the Science of Beauty and a library which curates classical knowledge. The Classic Planning Institute is led by Dr Nir Buras, the author of The Art of Classic Planning (Harvard University Press, 2019)

Image by Andy Art

Purpose and mission

Our purpose is to make the world more beautiful, sustainable and healthy through improving the built environment.


We do this through stewarding the knowledge bases of the classical method of urban planning and traditional architecture. At the highest level of practice, education and scientific rigor, we curate existing knowledge, generate new knowledge, apply what we know, and train in it. Our motto is, ‘Doing While Learning and Learning by Doing’.

What is Classic Planning?

In our modern world, we are accustomed to the fragmentation of intellectual and technical disciplines and skilled work. Uniquely, the Classic Planning Institute embraces the holistic classical method, employing the best and most representative examples of urban things judged as outstanding among their kind, instructively typical, and less subject to fashion. 

Practiced in conjunction with the other key knowledge bases of the classical method, Classic Planning focuses on designing the built environment for human use and a pleasing experience by means of traditional buildings—Greek, Roman, Chinese, Indian, Islamic, Japanese, etc.—that emerged worldwide from the same principles and for the same purposes. Classic plans and their parts are still used in planning and urbanism to explain and exemplify fundamental concepts such as the block, the street, the plaza, and the neighborhood.

Crucially, the Classic Planning Institute researches and applies the leading-edge Science of Beauty, including multiple fractal perception and neuroaesthetics — and their relationship to human wellbeing. We insist on scientific rigor in urban planning and architecture. 

Traditional traffic planning
Farming and agriculture
Traditional waterfronts
Traditional building arts
Design neuroscience
Oceans, lakes and rivers stewardship
Climatic and seismic resilience
Forest management
Environmental stewardship
Mining and metallurgy

Classic Planning principles

Our leadership

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Trained as an architect and town planning professional, Dr Nir Buras is among a handful of professionals that have both classical knowledge and experience in large, complex projects. He is the author of The Art of Classic Planning (Harvard University Press, 2019) and he visited 100 cities to write the book.

Dr Buras has over 30 years of specialized experience in large, complex, and sensitive projects, strategic planning, and architecture and transportation design, as well as teaching and lecturing. His goal is to serve the cities of the world by helping residents to better understand their cities to make them more beautiful, healthy and resilient. Read more ...

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