For those of you who have read our manifesto you'll see that we had planned to do a project on housing last year. The project got put on the backburner for a number of reasons but reading the inaugural issue of itch (Beyond Green's journal of sustainable developments) I did think again of the huge potential for change in the way we design and create environments for ourselves to live in. Relating more specifically to urban developments, itch includes an article on urban designer Paul Murrain's view on the need for strong design leadership and collaboration with local people to give opportunity for conscious choices about our urban environments. He argues for the need to separate 'the democracy of the product and the democracy of the process'in urban design - 'The urbanism in Paris is unbelievably democratic in what it allows and actively encourages to happen. Yet it was built with remarkable despotic intervention at great speed. By contrast, if you visit any UK planning authority, the people have a great social conscience and strongly believe in democracy, and yet they've built some of the most undemocratic environments in the last 60 years.' He goes on to say 'the essence of urbanism is the extent to which both planned and incidental interaction are facilitated by it's design'. Urbanism and environmentalism are not as much at odds as many believe with urban systems like natural ecologies relying heavily on the health and sustainability of their component interactions. Anyone looking to read the article see the Beyond Green website for a copy of itch. Moreover feel free to comment on the need for new thinking in this or other areas - particulatly where you see that design might offer major potential for change.