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?

New York street vendor who alerted police to bomb seeks office

A New York City vendor who alerted police to an attempted car bombing in Times Square is running for Congress.

Traveller's guide: Victoria, Australia

With beaches, vineyards and a cosmopolitan capital, mainland Australia's smallest state packs a lot in, says <a href="http://www.lonelyplanet.com." target="_blank">Lonely Planet's</a> <b>Jayne D'Arcy</b>.

National Trust concerns over planning move

The National Trust today voiced "grave concerns" over Government proposals aimed at dramatically simplifying the planning system, warning of "damaging development" not seen since the 1930s.

Solar industry takes tariff fight to Lords

Solar industry campaigners have their last chance to save much-needed subsidies today as MPs meet to decide if the Government's controversial cuts warrant a debate in the House of Commons.

Florida shooting suspect had been arrested before

A teenage boy arrested on suspicion of murdering two British holidaymakers in Florida had already been detained by police for aggravated assault with a handgun, police said.

Boxing: Audley Harrison plans to carry on fighting

Audley Harrison has decided to carry on fighting despite last month's pathetic defeat by David Haye.

Theory of relatives: Is society any more broken than it always was?

Politicians claim that broken families are at the root of Britain's ills. But our ancestors' domestic set-ups were just as dysfunctional as our own, argues Brian Schofield

Boxer, Beetle, By Ned Beauman

A debut with the whiff of a cult classic

Leading article: Animal crackers

As part of its preparations for statehood, South Sudan has dreamt up a novel way to put itself on the global map. A blueprint for its capital, Juba, has the urban centre re-planned in the shape of a rhinoceros, while its second city, Wau, is reconfigured as a giraffe. Now no one claims to be talking any latter-day Baron Haussmann or L'Enfant here. After all, these "safari" formations could be seen to full advantage only from the air. But in an age of popular air travel, satellite navigation, Google Earth and the rest, they would not be unappreciated. Indeed, they could set a new trend in branding. Imagine air passengers' delight on detecting the outline of the rhino on the final approach to Juba.

Life on the terraces: The classic two-up two-down is back in demand

A vote for the most evocative British property type might see the terraced house win a clear majority – although those evocations may be as much fantasy as reality. For many, terraces suggest Coronation Street or the 1970s Manchester seen in Life on Mars. Others think of terraces as quintessentially Dickensian, or typifying homes built by Yorkshire mill owners to house their wretched workers. Some may even have seen how terraces formed the backbone of Baltimore's crack trade in The Wire.

Sheringham Man steams over Tesco Goliath &ndash; for now

Norfolk town rejects 'rapacious' retailer's plans for new store in favour of farmer's green supermarket &ndash; but is this just shop snobbery?

Colin Ward: Writer and social theorist who espoused a gentle brand of anarchy

Colin Ward was an anarchist without a sinister cloak and fizzing bomb and without a penchant for rioting and street-fighting. His methods were his intellect, vast research, and above all words. He turned out well-written books and articles in which he argued against big government and in favour of initiatives by individuals and small communities. He was described by Paul Barker, in his 1989 review of the book Ward wrote with Ruth Rendell, Country Life Force, as a man who made "gentle attempts to educate us into a freer, kinder society."

'Incredible' rents still demanded in London

Rents for commercial properties have soared to such an extent in select parts of London that landlords are demanding nearly £1,000 per square foot for sections of top-tier shops on the exclusive Old Bond Street.

Jay Merrick: Design, schools and pure humbug

Construction, profitability and poor design mark academy schools

The Sketch: It's a climate of confusion, for sure

Things are so complicated it's a wonder anyone knows what's going on. But then, no one does. No one can. There's too much to know. Not that Lord Turner of Ecchinswell put it like that. He's climate change. It's his job to project omniscience in the face of the unknowable.

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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast & Montenegro
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Lisbon, Oporto and the Douro Valley
Lake Garda, Venice & Verona
Spain
Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness