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?

Letter: Ditch the brown belt

Sir: It is refreshing to see that Tony Blair's Performance and Innovation Unit is proposing that the green belt should be relaxed and farmland freed for development (report, 11 December).

OBITUARIES: Jill Craigie

JILL CRAIGIE was not Britain's first woman film director - there had been several in the silent days, notably Dinah Shurey, while early talkies included films directed by Mary Field, later head of the Children's Film Foundation, and the authoress Elinor Glyn - but Craigie was the first to achieve a combination of critical acclaim, publicity and wide distribution.

Prescott fears European funding inquiry could undermine revival of brownfield sites

JOHN PRESCOTT, the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions, is in danger of losing a battle with the European Commission that could cost Britain pounds 300m of EU aid to revive run-down areas.

Law Report: Time when gypsy status should be considered

Thursday Law Report: 11 November 1999; Hearne v National Assembly for Wales and another; Court of Appeal (Lord Woolf, Master of the Rolls, Lord Justice Pill and Lord Justice Judge) 22 October 1999

Money: For good returns, add some zeros

My favourite investment: top tips each month from a City expert

Tepee village fight goes to court

A HIPPY community's 15-year battle to avoid being broken up by planning officials reached the High Court yesterday.

When the losers of America take to the killing floor

WHEN THE bustling regularity of a city day was interrupted by the hollow crack of bullets, swiftly followed by the screams of sirens, no one had to apply much imagination to guess what had happened. Yet another American had snapped, taking out his frustrations in the first best way that came to mind: with a gun (or two, or three).

Kennedy daughter linked to Gore bid Gore

ONE OF the many archive clips replayed after the death of John F Kennedy Jnr showed his father, the late president, being asked whether he would like his son to follow in his political footsteps. With a speed of political wit now more associated with President Bill Clinton and a care for gender equality not typical of his time, JFK flashed back: "My daughter, too."

Urban regeneration? We've heard it all before

Cappuccino bars are not the answer, writes Geoffrey Lean

Friday Law Report: Jurisdiction to hear planning appeals

11 June 1999 Regina v Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and Regions, ex parte Bath and North East Somerset District Council

Land for 600,000 more homes must be found by 2016

ANOTHER 600,000 houses must be built in the English countryside by 2016, on top of those for which land has already been allocated, according to a new report seen by The Independent.

Arts: Death and the maidens

First a memoir of Revolutionary Terror, then a novel, then a screenplay, and lastly an opera by Poulenc, The Carmelites bears the deep biographical imprints of all those involved in its creation.

Case Summaries; 3 May 1999

THE FOLLOWING notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Case Summaries: 26 April 1999

THE FOLLOWING notes of judgments were prepared by the reporters of the All England Law Reports.

Property: Permission, please

Ignore the property laws at your peril
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Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
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Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
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Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
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An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
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Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own