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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Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee