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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of trees and houses in towns and cities from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Cities vs Trees

Some people say it is more important to plant trees in the open spaces in towns and cities than to build more housing.

To what extant do you agree or disagree?

Many city and town planners believe that trees, instead of residential buildings, are crucial for the development of the modern city. In my agreement, I agree with this contention despite the legitimate benefits to increased housing in cities.

Those who would rather build more residential buildings argue that both town and city populations are surging. Population figures globally are on the rise and it is logical to provide quality housing for all citizens. This is particularly true in rapidly growing nations such as China and India. The migration of individuals from the countryside to cities and outlying towns means that higher residential numbers have led to deteriorating sanitary conditions and increased pressure on the services that sustain cities such as public transportation. More housing would at least partly alleviate the issues that urban planners face and allow for more cogent plans for densely populated environments.

Nonetheless, the importance of trees transcends the purely practical. For the average city and town resident, trees have aesthetic value. Take for example some of the best known cities in the world including Paris and New York City. The parks and gardens stand out and mitigate living apart from the natural world. Moreover, the more underprivileged segments of society are unlikely to be able to afford trips outside their immediate living vicinity. There is therefore a good chance that many younger children, particularly those in inner cities, will rarely experience nature and their lives will be limited to the dreary confines of the city. Over time, this can have a demoralising effect that is evidenced in the defeatist attitude common among less affluent children.

In conclusion, the importance of housing to meeting rising population demands does not overshadow the importance of trees. Towns and cities must naturally balance these concerns to foster better living environments for residents.

Analysis

1. Many city and town planners believe that trees, instead of residential buildings, are crucial for the development of the modern city. 2. In my agreement, I agree with this contention despite the legitimate benefits to increased housing in cities.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Those who would rather build more residential buildings argue that both town and city populations are surging. 2. Population figures globally are on the rise and it is logical to provide quality housing for all citizens. 3. This is particularly true in rapidly growing nations such as China and India. 4. The migration of individuals from the countryside to cities and outlying towns means that higher residential numbers have led to deteriorating sanitary conditions and increased pressure on the services that sustain cities such as public transportation. 5. More housing would at least partly alleviate the issues that urban planners face and allow for more cogent plans for densely populated environments.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Continue to develop it.
  5. State the result.

1. Nonetheless, the importance of trees transcends the purely practical. 2. For the average city and town resident, trees have aesthetic value. 3. Take for example some of the best known cities in the world including Paris and New York City. 4. The parks and gardens stand out and mitigate living apart from the natural world. 5. Moreover, the more underprivileged segments of society are unlikely to be able to afford trips outside their immediate living vicinity. 6. There is therefore a good chance that many younger children, particularly those in inner cities, will rarely experience nature and their lives will be limited to the dreary confines of the city. 7. Over time, this can have a demoralising effect that is evidenced in the defeatist attitude common among less affluent children.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. The more specific, the better.
  5. Continue your development.
  6. Detail the results if you are struggling to develop your ideas.
  7. Add on any extra detail that you can that is related for a better task achievement score.

1. In conclusion, the importance of housing to meeting rising population demands does not overshadow the importance of trees. 2. Towns and cities must naturally balance these concerns to foster better living environments for residents.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes and then check below.

Many city and town planners believe that trees, instead of residential buildings, are crucial for the development of the modern city. In my agreement, I agree with this contention despite the legitimate benefits to increased housing in cities.

Those who would rather build more residential buildings argue that both town and city populations are surging. Population figures globally are on the rise and it is logical to provide quality housing for all citizens. This is particularly true in rapidly growing nations such as China and India. The migration of individuals from the countryside to cities and outlying towns means that higher residential numbers have led to deteriorating sanitary conditions and increased pressure on the services that sustain cities such as public transportation. More housing would at least partly alleviate the issues that urban planners face and allow for more cogent plans for densely populated environments.

Nonetheless, the importance of trees transcends the purely practical. For the average city and town resident, trees have aesthetic value. Take for example some of the best known cities in the world including Paris and New York City. The parks and gardens stand out and mitigate living apart from the natural world. Moreover, the more underprivileged segments of society are unlikely to be able to afford trips outside their immediate living vicinity. There is therefore a good chance that many younger children, particularly those in inner cities, will rarely experience nature and their lives will be limited to the dreary confines of the city. Over time, this can have a demoralising effect that is evidenced in the defeatist attitude common among less affluent children.

In conclusion, the importance of housing to meeting rising population demands does not overshadow the importance of trees. Towns and cities must naturally balance these concerns to foster better living environments for residents.

Answers

city and town planners people who map out and plan places

instead of residential buildings in place of housing

crucial key

modern city cities of the 21st century

contention despite opinion regardless of

legitimate benefits real advantages

rather prefer

argue claim

surging increasing a lot

population figures globally number of people around the world

logical rational

provide quality housing give good homes

particularly true especially the case

rapidly growing nations countries growing much faster

migration leaving/moving

outlying towns suburbs

higher residential numbers more people living there

deteriorating sanitary conditions less and less clean

increased pressure more stress

services transport, medicine, police, etc.

sustain keep alive

public transportation buses, metros, etc.

at least partly alleviate at the minimum somewhat contain

urban planners face people who plan cities must deal with

cogent plans logical future plans

densely populated environments cities with lots of people

nonetheless regardless

trees transcends is more important than

purely practical just what is necessary

average normal

aesthetic value beauty

stand out make an impression

mitigate lessen

apart away from

natural world nature

underprivileged segments of society poor people

afford can pay for

outside their immediate living vicinity
far from their home

particularly especially

inner cities deep in cities

rarely not often

limited not expansive

dreary confines sad surroundings

over time over period of time

demoralising effect demotivating

evidenced there is evidence for it

defeatist attitude negative outlook

common among prevalent in

less affluent children poor kids

demands what people need

overshadow be stronger than

naturally balance these concerns of course keep both in
check

foster better living environments encourage a nice place to
live

Pronunciation

ˈsɪti ænd taʊn ˈplænəz 
ɪnˈstɛd ɒv ˌrɛzɪˈdɛnʃəl ˈbɪldɪŋz
ˈkruːʃəl 
ˈmɒdən ˈsɪti
kənˈtɛnʃən dɪsˈpaɪt 
lɪˈʤɪtɪmɪt ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
ˈrɑːðə 
ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈsɜːʤɪŋ
ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃən ˈfɪgəz ˈgləʊbəli 
ˈlɒʤɪkəl 
prəˈvaɪd ˈkwɒlɪti ˈhaʊzɪŋ 
pəˈtɪkjʊləli truː 
ˈræpɪdli ˈgrəʊɪŋ ˈneɪʃənz 
maɪˈgreɪʃən 
ˈsɪtiz 
ˈaʊtˌlaɪɪŋ taʊnz 
ˈhaɪə ˌrɛzɪˈdɛnʃəl ˈnʌmbəz 
dɪˈtɪərɪəreɪtɪŋ ˈsænɪtəri kənˈdɪʃənz 
ɪnˈkriːst ˈprɛʃə 
ˈsɜːvɪsɪz 
səsˈteɪn 
ˈpʌblɪk ˌtrænspɔːˈteɪʃən
æt liːst ˈpɑːtli əˈliːvɪeɪt 
ˈɜːbən ˈplænəz feɪs 
ˈkəʊʤənt plænz 
ˈdɛnsli ˈpɒpjʊleɪtɪd ɪnˈvaɪərənmənts
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
triːz trænˈsɛndz 
ˈpjʊəli ˈpræktɪkəl
ˈævərɪʤ 
iːsˈθɛtɪk ˈvæljuː
stænd aʊt 
ˈmɪtɪgeɪt 
əˈpɑːt 
ˈnæʧrəl wɜːld
ˌʌndəˈprɪvɪlɪʤd ˈsɛgmənts ɒv səˈsaɪəti 
əˈfɔːd 
ˌaʊtˈsaɪd ðeər ɪˈmiːdiət ˈlɪvɪŋ vɪˈsɪnɪti
pəˈtɪkjʊləli 
ˈɪnə ˈsɪtiz
ˈreəli 
ˈlɪmɪtɪd 
ˈdrɪəri ˈkɒnfaɪnz 
ˈəʊvə taɪm
dɪˈmɒrəlaɪzɪŋ ɪˈfɛkt 
ˈɛvɪdənst 
dɪˈfiːtɪst ˈætɪtjuːd 
ˈkɒmən əˈmʌŋ 
lɛs ˈæflʊənt ˈʧɪldrən
dɪˈmɑːndz
ˌəʊvəˈʃædəʊ 
ˈnæʧrəli ˈbæləns ðiːz kənˈsɜːnz 
ˈfɒstə ˈbɛtə ˈlɪvɪŋ ɪnˈvaɪərənmənts 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Many c_________________________s believe that trees, i___________________________s, are c__________l for the development of the m______________y. In my agreement, I agree with this c___________________e the l______________________s to increased housing in cities.

Those who would r_________r build more residential buildings a_____e that both town and city populations are s________g. P_________________________y are on the rise and it is l________l to p_______________________g for all citizens. This is p____________________e in r________________________s such as China and India. The m______________n of individuals from the countryside to cities and o_______________s means that h______________________________s have led to d_____________________________s and i_________________e on the s__________s that s_______n cities such as p________________________n. More housing would a___________________________e the issues that u______________________e and allow for more c_______________s for d_________________________________s.

N_____________s, the importance of t__________________s the p_____________l. For the a___________e city and town resident, trees have a_______________e. Take for example some of the best known cities in the world including Paris and New York City. The parks and gardens s__________t and m__________e living a______t from the n_________________d. Moreover, the more u___________________________________y are unlikely to be able to a_______d trips o_______________________________________y. There is therefore a good chance that many younger children, p___________y those in i__________s, will r________y experience nature and their lives will be l________d to the d_____________s of the city. O___________e, this can have a d____________________t that is e___________d in the d____________________________________________________n.

In conclusion, the importance of housing to meeting rising population d___________s does not o___________w the importance of trees. Towns and cities must n__________________________________s to f__________________________________s for residents.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Rubbish/Garbage/Litter

  1. How do you react when you see litter on the streets?
  2. Do you recycle?
  3. How do you help keep the streets tidy?
  4. What would you do if someone else dropped some litter?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related topic below and then check with my sample answer:

Many people living in cities these days do not get enough physical exercise.

What are the causes of this?

What are some possible solutions?


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