We present an effective solution to the linear placement problem, which has several applications in the physical design of integrated circuits. Our approach belongs to the class of iterative improvement heuristics. The important difference of this new technique from the previous ones is in its moves, and in the order of application of these moves. A phase of the algorithm begins with simple moves and gradually shifts towards more complex moves. Phases are repeated as long as further improvement is possible. Our experimental results show that nearly optimal solutions can be achieved. For a number of examples collected from the literature, our algorithm generated optimal solutions.