A radical redesign of our towns and cities will be needed to tackle climate change, the Government's design watchdog warned in Birmingham on Friday.
The Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (Cabe) said the current focus on "green gadgets" such as energy-saving light bulbs and wind turbines on homes would not be enough to address global warming and the looming energy crisis.
It made the call at the start of what Birmingham City Council hails as the UK's first climate change festival, featuring exhibitions, events, street theatre and art focused on climate change over nine days in the city.
The commission says fundamental changes to urban living are needed, including a total redesign of our streets to make them greener. And its experts call for many more trees to cool buildings and lower air conditioning use, tarmac to be replaced by permeable road sur-faces to cut flooding and fountains in every neighbourhood to store water for plants.
Cabe also wants to see the "dignity" put back into public transport, a national programme to encourage homeowners to make their houses more energy efficient and more neighbourhood-scale energy generation.
Matt Bell, the commission's director of campaigns, said climate change could even become an opportunity to turn some of the UK's "gritty and grotty" towns and cities into beautiful places in which people wanted to live.
Birmingham City Council is pledging to cut the city's emissions by 60 per cent over the next 18 years - much faster cuts than are planned nationwide.
As part of the festival, Cabe has commissioned - the Government adviser's first such commission - a 29-metre pylon which is being installed in Birmingham's Victoria Square.
The sculpture aims to remind people of the usually unseen consequences of endless consumption, Cabe said.
Mr Bell said: "People are very much focused on green gadgets, as if putting a wind turbine on your house will save climate change, or doing a bit more recycling, but it's never going to be sufficient. What we really need to do is redesign the way we live in our cities and manage our lives within them. Given the enormity of the challenge, we need to respond on a much bigger scale.
"We need to redesign the way our towns and cities work, and it's going to create much nicer places, which are healthier, fairer, greener and more beautiful which people will want to buy into."
And he said: "We need to get away from the guilt and scolding. Climate change is a useful opportunity to make some gritty and grotty towns and cities much more attractive places for residents and investors."
The commission wants to see radical changes in four areas. The first would be a transformation of city and town streets to make them greener and more appealing to pedestrians than cars - turning them into social spaces.The second area for change would be public transport.The third change would be a new national programme to motivate private home owners to make their houses more sustainable.
Financial incentives, such as differentiated council tax, would be needed to encourage people to take steps to be greener, the commission said.
And lastly, Cabe wants to see much greater use of neighbourhood-level energy creation and distribution - such as small-scale combined heat and power plants and solar panels.