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A selection of medieval compass drawn designs from Belaugh church in Norfolk. All images courtesy NSMGS

Essay/
Archaeology
Medieval graffiti

Graffiti on the walls of Europe’s old churches reveals the real Middle Ages – a world far removed from knights and damsels

Matthew Champion

Photo by Getty
Essay/
Architecture
Streets with no game

Boring cityscapes increase sadness, addiction and disease-related stress. Is urban design a matter of public health?

Colin Ellard

Trails left by circumpolar stars, as viewed from Star Axis, a monumental work of land art in the New Mexico desert. Photo courtesy of Charles Ross
Essay/
Architecture
Embracing the void

The ancients had pyramids to tame the sky’s mystery. We have Star Axis, a masterpiece forty years in the making

Ross Andersen

Le Corbusier's Unité d'Habitation complex in Marseilles (1952) was designed around the display of the body, its pools and terraces, meant for inhabitants to show off. Photo by Stephen Burrows

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Architecture
Room for sex

Most architecture sets out to make us civil and efficient. Where are the homes that give us passion and pleasure?

Richard J Williams

Photo by Eve Arnold/Magnum

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Architecture
Intimate spaces

In his Poetics of Space, Gaston Bachelard created a philosophy of at-homeness, rich in emotion and memory

Gillian Darley

BABEL IID Arcology, elevation, population 550,000. From "Arcology: City in the Image of Man", original publication 1970. Photo courtesy Cosanti Foundation
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Architecture
Desert utopia

It might be pleasing to dream of arcologies, mega-cities, and space colonies – but no one can design the perfect human community

Jared Keller

Picnic beside the cherry blossom in a Shinjuku park. Photo by Jérémie Souteyrat
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Architecture
Sakura

Heady with beauty, in cherry tree season Japan celebrates environmental values that Western greens have lost

Rebecca Giggs

Google employee Andrea Janus at the mini-putt green on the balcony at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012. Photo by Mark Blinch/Reuters

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Architecture
Tech aesthetics

Twitter has log cabins and Facebook has graffiti — what do the offices of tech giants tell us about the future of work?

Kate Losse

Photo by RMB Images/Getty

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Architecture
The camping cure

Living outside changes you. When environmental illness left me too sick to stay in my high-rise, I turned to nature to heal

Jill Neimark

A child reads The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle to therapy dog Avalanche. A recent study has shown than children with reading difficulties can make remarkable improvements by practising reading aloud to dogs. Photo By Craig F Walker/The Denver Post/Getty
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Architecture
Beasts at bedtime

At bookstores it’s easy to confuse the kids section for the nature section. Why are so many children’s books about animals?

Liam Heneghan

When urbanism reaches a particular pitch of intensity; view towards Battersea power station, London. Photo by JH Images/Getty
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Architecture
The concrete tangle

The urge to tidy up cities is deadening – let’s celebrate the tangled chaos and honky-tonk energy that keep them alive

Will Wiles

The machinery of wilderness management: staff and volunteers of the North West Parks notch and micro-chip a wild black rhino in case of poaching. South Africa, 2010. Photo by Dominic Nahr/Magnum

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Architecture
Once the wild is gone

Nature conservation is still obsessed with the pristine. It needs to learn to love this mongrel world

Bill Adams

The labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral, France. Photo by Sylvain Sonnet/Getty
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Architecture
Be amazed

Before it became a staple of videogames, the maze was a test of reason and courage, a way to find yourself by getting lost

James McConnachie

Threadneedle Street, London, 2012. Photo by Trent Parke/Magnum

Essay/
Cities
City on mute

When you stare at your phone or use Uber to navigate your neighbourhood, you flatten the rich texture of urban life

Kathleen Vandenberg

Peregrinations. A Samuel Beckett mural, Notting Hill, London. Photo by Carlos Sanchez Pereyra/Getty
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Stories and literature
Walk the lines

Can walking the city streets still be liberating, when every path is paved with literary quotations and artistic prefiguring?

Will Wiles

Photo courtesy fabrikbrands.com

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Design and fashion
The universal design ideal

At every turn, the design of our environments either creates barriers or opens doors. Let’s design a more humane world

Anna Leahy

Standing for millenia: Reenadinna, an ancient yew woodland in Ireland’s Killarney National Park. Photo by Universal images/Getty
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Architecture
Out of kilter

Old ideas of balance and harmony need to be put aside if we are to save a natural world in constant flux

Liam Heneghan