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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor