Today's threats of legal action by ClientEarth against the UK Government highlight the problem of London's poisonous air, which is killing some 10,000 people a year, writes John Weeks. Fortunately there are simple, low cost, effective measures that could be taken to bring about big improvements to the city's air quality, fast.
Just as rich and poor are separated by walls of money, the Latin American trend is to add physical walls to keep wealthy and deprived communities entirely apart, write Camillo Boano & Belen Desmaison. On the one side people enjoy lavish homes, security, public services and piped water. On the other residents live in tiny shacks built of scraps, in a desert landscape ruled by criminals.
Britain's 20th century architecture is in danger of obliteration, writes Sebastian Messer, with a 'new brutalism' that holds that socially deprived council estates are fit only for demolition. But these buildings are an important part of our cultural heritage, and more than that, they provide affordable housing to millions of people.
Erdogan's horrific 'war on terror' in the Kurdish cities of Eastern Turkey may have a silver lining, writes Defne Kadıoğlu Polat - at least for property developers and ruling party insiders. Plans are already under way for 'urban renewal' projects that will see the valuable real estate cleansed of buildings and people by the war developed into luxury apartments and shopping malls.
Demolishing 'sink' council estates is no way to solve social problems, writes Loretta Lees. All it does is force low income communities out of affordable housing, and open valuable urban sites up for profitable redevelopment. But then, maybe that's the point?
The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ...
The apparent conspiracy by the UK government and its agencies to conceal the real cause of death of 7-year old Zane Gbangbola may go right up to Prime Minister David Cameron, writes Paul Mobbs. He was chair of the COBRA emergency committee at the time when it appears to have held back the truth that he was killed by cyanide from the toxic landfill site his home was built over.
As temperatures soar in the Persian Gulf, modern buildings rely on energy-guzzling air-conditioning to maintain tolerable temperatures, writes Amin Al-Habaibeh. But traditional buildings stay cool passively using shade; wind and thermally driven ventilation; and naturally insulating, reflective materials. For a sustainable future, modern architects must revive the ancient knowledge.
The demand for ever more air travel and new runways comes from a small minority of frequent flyers, writes Keith Taylor - the 15% who take 70% of flights. So we can reduce that demand with a frequent flyer tax - while making it cheaper for ordinary families to enjoy an annual holiday abroad.
Local authorities around the world are going pesticide-free following an initiative by a small town in Canada 25 years ago, writes Keith Tyrell. Now the movement is coming to the UK, with campaign groups setting up in towns, cities and rural communities to keep pesticides out of our streets, parks, playgrounds and allotments.
The Garden Bridge will offer a new kind of green space in the heart of the city, strengthening London's status as the greenest capital in Europe, writes Bee Emmott. It will benefit the health and wellbeing of local communities and visitors alike.
It sounded wonderful: a futuristic 'garden bridge' across the Thames dripping with flowers and foliage, writes Will Jennings. But really it's a private enclosure of valuable public space, mature trees and views, backed by £60m of taxpayers money, that delivers no benefits to London's wildlife, environment or transport needs.
Detroit is the site of a neoliberal experiment that's already being repeated elsewhere, writes Chris Grove, with unpayable debt used to force the privatization of public services and the terminate democratic power and accountability. But as the city's poor find themselves cur off from water, a new, wider conception of human rights is emerging from the wreckage.
The UK Government has ditched the requirement for new homes to be 'zero carbon' from April 2016, writes Gordon Walker. With builders already geared up to meet the challenge, this needless reversal will raise energy bills and carbon emissions for a century or more to come, and send out all the wrong signals for the Paris climate talks.
When Oxeye daises looked like taking over her mini-meadow, Jo Cartmell was tempted to intervene. But instead, she held back and let nature take its course. Now, a few seasons later, the floral diversity has only increased, taking in some unexpected but welcome arrivals - along with their insect companions, all making their home on what used to be an unloved patch of lawn.
The NHS is one of our greatest institutions and we must defend it to the hilt, writes Natalie Bennett. But to build the healthy society we all want and deserve, we need joined up policies across the policy spectrum, valuing human wellbeing above crude economic growth.
With the UK's business air travel falling, the Airport Commission says we need a new London runway to make us happy! But all their data really shows is that people who go on holiday lead happier lives than those who don't, writes Chris Goodall, and that people enjoy holidays: a flimsy basis on which to expand airport capacity, and blow the UK's emissions targets out of the water.
It's time to halt the loss of the nation's front gardens to dreary paving, writes Jenny Jones. Green gardens protect against floods, provide homes for wildlife, keep cities cool in summer, and help us all feel happier. Now, with 7 million gardens already paved over, we must protect those that remain.
Following a monstrous spate of cyclist deaths in London, protestors are gathering outside the Bank of England tonight to demand: stop killing cyclists! The UK's peaceful cycling revolution is now under way, writes Donnachadh McCarthy, who invites us all to join the movement to make our cities safe for humans.
Cuba is a global exemplar of organic, agroecological farming, taking place on broad swathes of land in and around its cities, write Julia Wright & Emily Morris. These farms cover 14% of the country's agricultural land, employ 350,000 people, and produce half the country's fruit and vegetables. But can they survive exposure to US agribusiness?
After four years of low rainfall Brazil's commercial capital, Sao Paulo, is suffering from a grim combination of high temperatures and water shortages, writes Leila Carvalho. And now the drought has given rise to a lethal plague of dengue fever.
Long a feature of British urban life, domestic squatting has now been criminalised, writes Almudena Serpis. But suddenly two social centres have come to life in a squatted bank in Brighton, and a long abandoned pub in London, reviving the rebellious spirit of the squatting movement, and promulgating a radical anti-austerity message that evokes the struggles in Greece, Spain and beyond.
As Paris prepares for COP21 in Paris, Marc Brightman finds that the city is in the grip of a benign but ignorant authoritarianism that is ready to trample on much-loved green spaces like the Bois Dormoy, reclaimed from dereliction by the multicultural local community, which represent real solutions to the global problems of food, climate, the future of our cities, and our place in nature.
Oxford Council's Executive Board meets today to decide whether to criminalise 'noncompliant' busking, pavement art, cycling and other activities in the City's vibrant public spaces, punishable with a £1,000 fine. Jonny Walker wrote them this Open Letter.