Rum and Classic Planning Lecture & Book Signing by Dr. Nir Buras

August 27, 2020

The ICAA Louisiana and New England Chapters hosted the Rum and Classic Planning webinar instructed by Dr. Nir Buras. Dr. Buras opened with a few words about his new book, followed by conversations in various breakout rooms. The title “Rum and Classic” refers to the historical connection between Louisiana and New England – via sugar and especially rum, with which workers used to be paid. 

Our event partner, the Cumberland Club in Portland, Maine, offered 3 different rum cocktail recipes for participants. A Federal jewel tucked in the heart of the city, The Cumberland Club has played host to men and women of distinction for over 130 years. Collegial and gracious, the Club combines the benefits of a fine restaurant with the special hospitality, intimacy, and convenience of an in-town home away from home, with indoor and outdoor surroundings conducive to business or social engagements. 

The purpose of urbanism is to create a legacy of beautiful places.  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 for communities than to pursuing short term solutions. Since problem solving focuses problems defined in the past, it amounts to walking into the future with our backs to it. Classic Planning is aspirational, forward looking. The Art of Classic Planning documents successful precedents–“what has worked”– in urban design.

Instructor Biography 

Dr. 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, architect 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, whose original degree was Architect and Townplanner, 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.” But 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 huge urban transportation 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.

ICAA - LA Chapter President, Kevin Harris, holding his copy of Classic Planning by Dr. Nir Buras