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The Art of Classic Planning

The Art of Classic Planning

Building Beautiful and Enduring Communities

Nir Haim Buras

ISBN 9780674272897

Publication date: 01/28/2020

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.

Nearly everything we treasure in the world’s most beautiful cities was built over a century ago. 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 a great deal of the knowledge and practice behind successful city planning has been abandoned over the last hundred years—not because of traffic, population growth, or other practical hurdles, but because of ill-considered theories emerging from Modernism and reactions to it.

The errors of urban design over the last century are too great not to question. The solutions being offered today—sustainability, walkability, smart and green technologies—hint at what has been lost and what may be regained, but they remain piecemeal and superficial. In The Art of Classic Planning, architect and planner Nir Haim Buras documents and extends the time-tested and holistic practices that held sway before the reign of Modernism. With hundreds of full-color illustrations and photographs that will captivate architects, planners, administrators, and developers, The Art of Classic Planning restores and revitalizes the foundations of urban planning.

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, Buras combines theory and a host of examples to arrive at clear guidelines for best practices in classic planning for today’s world. The Art of Classic Planning celebrates the enduring principles of urban design and invites us to return to building beautiful cities.


  • Nir Haim Buras is an architect and city planner with over thirty years of experience in strategic planning and transportation design. He has worked on the East Side Access at Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the International Terminal at the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport, the Tel Aviv Metro, and the US Capitol Senate and House Office Buildings in Washington, DC. Buras founded the Washington, DC, chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art and visited 100 cities worldwide to write The Art of Classic Planning.

Book Details

  • Belknap Press