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?

Brewed on his birthday, the new beer was called Old Ric

With his long grey beard and glittering eye, he puts one in mind of the Ancient Mariner. But appearances deceive. Ric Sainty is no haunted bore, buttonholing wedding guests with tales of shipwreck and catastrophe. He is the welcoming landlord of the Old Spot inn in the Gloucestershire town of Dursley, and his claim to fame is that the beer named after him, Old Ric, has been selected for national distribution by the Wetherspoon chain of pubs.

Obituary: Professor J. S. Allen

When Professor Joseph Stanley Allen was appointed to the Chair in Town and Country Planning at King's College, Newcastle University, in 1946, he was the sole member of a new department with just a handful of students, most of whom had just been demobilised.

Obituary: George Duncan

George Duncan was from the second tranche of post-war planners produced by British universities and polytechnics. The first flight may have been the deus ex machina of the developing countries they were to serve but later graduates thought more in terms of development rather than master planning and were consequently better integrated with local people in the planning process. Of these, none had a higher success rate or greater achievement than Duncan.

Books: All together now

Anthony Giddens challenges the prophets of doom; Connexity by Geoff Mulgan, Chatto & Windus, pounds 16.99

On the town

New premiums on parking may reduce the appeal of green-field developmen ts.

SOCIETY: Curse of townies destroys rural life

Successful townies who move house to the country were yesterday accused by a government adviser of destroying the village life they aspire to. Richard Wakeford, chief executive of the Countryside Commission, said incomers were more likely to wave at each other from their luxury cars than gossip outside the village shop.

Obituary: William Tatton Brown

William Tatton Brown was a distinguished member of that now dwindling band of architects who in their youth helped to introduce Modern architecture to England in the period between the wars. Like many of that generation, he had stumbled upon Modernist ideas, and the left-leaning politics which normally accompanied them, by the chance combination of education and circumstances.

Ashtead still towers above the rest

The Investment Column

Graduates earn a degree of good fortune on pay

The economic recovery that has been an almost universally accepted fact for months seems at last to be spawning a similar upturn in the fortunes of an increasingly large section of the community: graduates. For the second consecutive year, starting salaries for those with a degree have grown at a faster rate than average earnings, according to a survey published this week.

City planning the Maine move

Manchester City will safeguard the future of their Maine Road headquarters even if they seal a deal to move into the new stadium to be built for the Commonwealth Games.

Don't look back

The triple towers of the Department of the Environment are widely regarded as eyesores, but the competition for suggestions to replace them has spawned a shortlist rooted in the past. The only way is forward, says Jonathan Glancey

Letter:Sheffield's Parkhill flats failed and should not be listed

Roy Hattersley's article "Time to knock them down" (8 September), raises yet again the whole issue of the criteria for listing modern buildings.

Twisting the planners' arms?

Public sector finance: The Nolan Committee is looking into the controversial area of 'planning gain', in which a development wins approval in return for a community benefit. Paul Gosling reports

Leading article: Motor pollution is an issue for local will

The Government's announcement yesterday of targets for cutting motor vehicle pollution over the next few years bore all the hallmarks of Gummerism. This is the political condition associated with the current Environment Secretary. John Gummer's patron saint is evidently St Augustine of Dagenham - give me exhaust pipe continence but, please, not yet. Mr Gummer's concern for the well-being of the physical environment is in no doubt. He cares about the countryside, about old buildings ... and all that. But heart is not enough.

A Coronation Street for every town

Forget the suburban semi in its leafy setting - the city-centre terraced house is the design for modern living, minister says
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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?