Life and Style Only 3.4 per cent of the Solihull area is covered by housing

It isn’t hard to find an architect who will tell you that vast swathes of the British urban landscape are ugly, grey and unappealing – nor would you struggle to find people who agreed with them. But could it be that the look and the layout of our cities is actually bad for our health?

Alain de Botton: 'We need a Jamie Oliver of architecture because architecture is now where food was 20 years ago'

We need a Jamie Oliver of architecture to save us from uninspiring design says Living Architecture founder Alain de Botton

We get what we deserve when it comes to the uninspiring buildings devoid of design in which many of us live and work, according to a panel  member of the first government-commissioned review into architecture in more than a decade.

The low road: Small shops in town centres such as Dartford, Kent, are struggling

High streets 'are being failed by planning law'

Government rejects claim by a new study that small businesses are being sacrificed to big out-of-town developments – in spite of Town Centre First policy

Loughborough teenager 'planned repeat of Columbine massacre by carrying out terror attack on his former school'

Boy was found to have petrol bombs, air rifles, pistols and armour at his home

James Blake is an intense live performer

Music Review: James Blake - robotic, but strangely warm and fuzzy

Listening to James Blake can feel like being underwater; his waves of electronica swell and retreat, building up and breaking over you, drowning with a thick, wobbling bass and looping, lapping vocals.

GTA 5 travelogue guide to Los Santos: Join a cult, steal a car

New featurettes promise Los Santos will be the most full-realised GTA city yet

Alex Salmond intervened in the planning process for Donald Trump’s golf course in Aberdeen

Donald Trump fails to deliver on golf resort jobs pledge

First Minister Alex Salmond is left in the rough over  ‘Great Dunes of Scotland’ investment

Lydd Airport (also known as London Ashford Airport) had fewer than 500 passengers in 2011

Airport expansion on ‘vital’ nature reserve to be challenged in court

RSPB and locals will fight to protect marsh used by migratory birds at Dungeness

City limits: Singapore is an example of top-down urban planning that actually worked

Review: Cities Are Good For You, By Leo Hollis

Why urban planners should just get lost once in a while

Robert Jackson (Peter) and Harry Waller rehearsing for Parkway Dreams: The Peterborough musical

Parkway Dreams: Peterborough get the musical treatment

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

The boomerang generation: Why are so many more graduates moving back in with mum and dad?

In the eerie silence of an empty nest, parents often pine for the good old days of mounting phone bills, the patter of keyboards and loud music reverberating through the house. Yet as rent prices skyrocket and students are squeezed ever tighter, they should be careful what they wish for.

Record profits at Ikea after a year of global growth

Swedish retail giant Ikea has delivered record annual profits, driven by cash-strapped consumers seeking out its flat-pack furniture globally.

Boles: 'All we need to do is build on another 2-3 per cent of land and we'll have solved a housing problem'

Planning minister: We need to build more homes in the countryside

The amount of land that is built on in Britain needs to be expanded by up to a third to tackle the nation’s housing shortage, the new Planning Minister will say tomorrow.

Mary Dejevsky: London's the star. It must stay that way

S how jumping against the backdrop of the Queen's House at Greenwich, cyclists whizzing out of Hampton Court Palace, marathon runners concluding their labours in the Mall after circling St Paul's and Big Ben and – how could the thought not be greeted with a smile? – the near parody of staging the beach volleyball on Horse Guards Parade.

The changes in planning guidance will make it much harder for a local planning committee to turn down a controversial development proposal in the countryside

The builders' charter: Osborne to overturn 65 years of planning law

Chancellor drives bulldozer through decades of countryside protection

Adrian Cave: immensely creative

Adrian Cave: Architect who worked for better disabled access

Adrian Cave, who has died from cancer, was an immensely creative and fun person to be with. An architect and town planner, he did much work on improving access for the disabled. He was born in Great Bromley, Essex in 1935 and was educated at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire – a county he came to love deeply. He did his national service with the 1st Singapore Regiment Royal Artillery in Malaya, where he also did parachute training with the SAS. During his leave, always keen on adventure, he walked through the Borneo jungle.

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie