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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Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London