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Building the world’s most beautiful places

The Classic Planning Studio designs towns, cities and buildings that fit naturally into their context and maximise human wellbeing and performance. We are one of the only architectural and planning practices that can bring classic planning and traditional architecture together to create the most beautiful places of the twenty-first century.

We can help save your city up to 5% in operating costs over the next ten years and measurably increase economic productivity and citizen wellbeing. Talk to us today about the impact we can make for your place.

We are truly unique.

We are one of the only planning and architecture practices in the world that can plan and design cities, towns and new developments that are as beautiful as Kyoto, Vienna, Prague, Lisbon, Paris and Venice, at scale. Our methodology is the same that has been used successfully for thousands of years around the world – and it is therefore empirically superior and more reliable and resilient than any other approach to urban planning, including smart cities*. We are the only planning and architecture practice that researches and applies the Science of Beauty to create places that measurably increase human wellbeing.

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We tackle the biggest challenges.

We work with towns and cities of any size to help them become more beautiful, healthy, sustainable and climate resilient. Many cities face major problems: social fragmentation, degrading infrastructure, urban sprawl, irresponsible development, car dependency, pollution, and environmental risk. We help cities save money on infrastructure, reduce urban sprawl, become substantially walkable, plan for high-quality gentle density, protect the natural environment, increase economic productivity, increase average real estate prices and commercial rents, cultivate vibrancy, and increase citizen health and wellbeing. Best of all, we plan cities that will be objectively beautiful.

We get the best outcomes.

Our approach helps provinces and cities plan for the long term to ensure economic vibrancy, citizen health and environmental sustainability. Even the largest, most complex cities are suitable candidates for Classic Planning. We help cities become more financially resilient by reducing infrastructure debt, reducing the transaction costs of unnecessary complexity and optimising investment to achieve the best possible returns over the long term. Generally, our methodology requires lower capital investment than other planning approaches. We help large cities bring community aspiration to the forefront of the planning process, think beyond short political cycles and balance competing stakeholder interests with an emphasis on civic goodness and justice. 

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Our approach to planning is associated with a 15.5 per cent premium on house prices, an increase in economic productivity of between two to six per cent, and higher commercial rents.

Services

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Plans for new developments

We help developers and governments plan new townships, villages, resorts and precincts that are more beautiful and sustainable, and more economically productive and resilient. Our approach to development is linked to higher rents, higher house prices, increased economic productivity and improved citizen health and wellbeing. 

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Private, commercial and civic architecture

We are seasoned traditional architects who are trained to design and build structures that meet the standards of the most beautiful buildings in the world. Studies show that most people prefer traditional architecture – not contemporary architecture – and evidence demonstrates that it is physiologically relaxing, neurologically pleasurable and good for our wellbeing and health.

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100-Year Plans for established cities

Our long-term planning process is a working model for urban development that guides placement of infrastructure and transportation, reconnects neighbourhoods, plans for sea level rise and waterfront development, and attracts investment and economic development in alignment with urban beauty, civic pride, and sustainability. 

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Urban diagnostics and urban biometrics

Based on key measures of urban wellbeing, we analyse and diagnose the levels of stress and resilience of a city or town. This helps cities identify their key issues and forms an objective baseline on which to measure improvement. We use urban biometrics to increase the efficacy of reaching design and planning decisions and raise the confidence level regarding their adoption, reducing risk and costly design iterations.

Principles

Beauty

We create places and buildings that are objectively beautiful, respectful of context and climate, and provide for the best aesthetic experience to promote human wellbeing.

Sustainability

Our approach mitigates harm from climate change. We plan for future water levels, resilience and sustainable development; and a more balanced relationship between people and the environment.

Community aspiration

Successful urbanism must be based on a community aspiration for it to be sustainable. We work closely with communities to help them identify their experience of the urban environment, aspirations and the city’s ‘reason for being’, including what the community wants from its economy, society, governance, and physical environment.

Resilience

We create cities that are more resistant to shocks and which are more financially and environmentally sustainable. We create timeless buildings that avoid obsolesce and promote adaptive reuse.

Respect for genius loci

No two places on Earth are the same. Each has its unique, prevailing atmosphere, its distinctive character. The genius loci of a place engages us intellectually, emotionally, and sensually. Our work respects and enhances genius loci

Community health

Our approach to urban planning and building design is based on the latest research from neuroscience about what makes people happy and healthy. Our work is designed to literally promote the release of oxytocin and endorphins, resulting in a sense of pleasure and stress reduction and feelings of safety, security and wellbeing.

Our experience and credentials

What is Classic Planning?

People have been building cities for over 5000 years and we have a pretty good idea of what to do with them. We know how to make urban fabric nurturing, sustainable and neurologically fit for humans. But we haven’t been applying that knowledge in the last one hundred years.

Nearly everything we treasure in the world’s most beautiful cities—exquisite architecture, walkable neighbourhoods, human scale, and successful city planning—was built over a century ago. The solutions being offered today—sustainability, walkability, smart and green technologies—hint at how much has been lost.

 

Unlike contemporary planning Classic Planning™ recognizes that there are no shortcuts. While we insist that good urbanism requires good architecture, everyone knows that classical and traditional buildings still make the best streets and places. Inspired by venerable Kyoto, Vienna, and Venice, Classic Planning™ applies the enduring principles of L’Enfant, Haussmann, and Burnham; Vitruvius and da Vinci.

Uniquely, this multidisciplinary approach is genuinely holistic. It easily integrates sound ecological and engineering principles with technological innovation and neuroscience. Classic Planning™ holds that, as backdrops for human activity, cities must be designed to fit human cognition and psychology. The research we undertake in our Laboratory explains why the most beautiful places have survived as long as they have.