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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of living in vertical or horizontal cities from the real IELTS exam.

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Before reading, listen to the audio and take notes:

IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample Answer Essay: Horizontal and Vertical Cities

Some cities create housing for growing populations by building taller buildings while other cities have opted to build on wider areas of land.

Which solution is better?

Real Past IELTS Exam

Many cities today are expanding upwards to accommodate surging urban populations. In my opinion, this can help preserve nearby land for other uses and is a better solution than encouraging urban sprawl.

Some would argue that tall cities present challenges for inhabitants and a spread-out city offers better quality of life. Condensed urban areas with lots of tall apartment blocks, like in New York City or Shanghai, are famously difficult to live in due to the effects of overcrowding on sanitation, safety, and traffic conditions. In contrast, decentralised cities like Los Angeles and Nashville allow for the development of unique individual neighborhoods, more space for residential construction and a reduction of the urban issues listed above. Individuals living in these cities often report greater feelings of satisfaction and many ‘transplants’ move to such cities because of the better living standards.

However, those in favour of taller buildings can logically point out the resultant benefits for the area around a city. It is often hard to check the growth of economically important cities and that can lead to massive urban sprawl, as is in the case around Mexico City and Tokyo. By building more skyscrapers, the surrounding area can be preserved or used in another way. Pristine natural lands can be designated as national parks. If the city requires more food to feed its population, there could be proximately located farms with fast delivery times. This surplus land could also be turned into quiet suburban towns to give residents the choice of raising a family outside the city and still earning a good wage and having easy access to the cultural benefits of large metropolises.

In conclusion, horizontal cities facilitate some positive living conditions but taller cities make more sense in the modern world. It is, nonetheless, important to strike a balance and mitigate the issues caused by growing urban populations with quality infrastructure.

Word count: 291

Analysis

1. Many cities today are expanding upwards to accommodate surging urban populations. 2. In my opinion, this can help preserve nearby land for other uses and is a better solution than encouraging urban sprawl.

  1. Paraphrase the overall topic for the whole essay.
  2. Write a clear opinion and choose 1 side overall.

1. Some would argue that tall cities present challenges for inhabitants and a spread-out city offers better quality of life. 2. Condensed urban areas with lots of tall apartment blocks, like in New York City or Shanghai, are famously difficult to live in due to the effects of overcrowding on sanitation, safety, and traffic conditions. 3. In contrast, decentralised cities like Los Angeles and Nashville allow for the development of unique individual neighborhoods, more space for residential construction and a reduction of the urban issues listed above. 4. Individuals living in these cities often report greater feelings of satisfaction and many ‘transplants’ move to such cities because of the better living standards.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Begin developing your idea with specific examples and ideas.
  3. Focus deeply on your examples.
  4. State the final result and conclude the paragraph.

1. However, those in favour of taller buildings can logically point out the resultant benefits for the area around a city. 2. It is often hard to check the growth of economically important cities and that can lead to massive urban sprawl, as is in the case around Mexico City and Tokyo. 3. By building more skyscrapers, the surrounding area can be preserved or used in another way. 4. Pristine natural lands can be designated as national parks. 5. If the city requires more food to feed its population, there could be proximately located farms with fast delivery times. 6. This surplus land could also be turned into quiet suburban towns to give residents the choice of raising a family outside the city and still earning a good wage and having easy access to the cultural benefits of large metropolises.

  1. Write another topic sentence with a new main idea.
  2. Begin to explain or develop your main idea.
  3. Vary your long and short sentences so it is easy to read.
  4. Focus very specifically.
  5. Don’t switch to a new main idea, just add more support for the same idea.
  6. Conclude with the final results/development.

1. In conclusion, horizontal cities facilitate some positive living conditions but taller cities make more sense in the modern world. 2. It is, nonetheless, important to strike a balance and mitigate the issues caused by growing urban populations with quality infrastructure.

  1. Repeat your opinion and summarise your arguments.
  2. Add a final detail/thought.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Many cities today are expanding upwards to accommodate surging urban populations. In my opinion, this can help preserve nearby land for other uses and is a better solution than encouraging urban sprawl.

Some would argue that tall cities present challenges for inhabitants and a spread-out city offers better quality of life. Condensed urban areas with lots of tall apartment blocks, like in New York City or Shanghai, are famously difficult to live in due to the effects of overcrowding on sanitation, safety, and traffic conditions. In contrast, decentralised cities like Los Angeles and Nashville allow for the development of unique individual neighborhoods, more space for residential construction and a reduction of the urban issues listed above. Individuals living in these cities often report greater feelings of satisfaction and many ‘transplants‘ move to such cities because of the better living standards.

However, those in favour of taller buildings can logically point out the resultant benefits for the area around a city. It is often hard to check the growth of economically important cities and that can lead to massive urban sprawl, as is in the case around Mexico City and Tokyo. By building more skyscrapers, the surrounding area can be preserved or used in another way. Pristine natural lands can be designated as national parks. If the city requires more food to feed its population, there could be proximately located farms with fast delivery times. This surplus land could also be turned into quiet suburban towns to give residents the choice of raising a family outside the city and still earning a good wage and having easy access to the cultural benefits of large metropolises.

In conclusion, horizontal cities facilitate some positive living conditions but taller cities make more sense in the modern world. It is, nonetheless, important to strike a balance and mitigate the issues caused by growing urban populations with quality infrastructure.

Answers

expanding upwards growing taller

accommodate surging urban populations increasing number of people living in cities

preserve nearby land keep land around cities safe

other uses can be utilised for other purposes

encouraging urban sprawl advocating for spread-out, large cities

argue believe

present challenges make it difficult

spread-out city city taking up lots of area

better quality of life higher standard of living

condensed urban areas smaller cities with lots of people

apartment blocks residential buildings

famously difficult notoriously hard

overcrowding too many people

sanitation cleanliness

safety how dangerous/safe a place is, crime

traffic conditions how busy the streets are

decentralised cities spread-out cities

unique individual neighborhoods disctinctive districts in a city

residential construction houses, condos, apartments

reduction less of

report say they have

satisfaction feeling happy with

transplants people who move to a new city to live

better living standards better quality of life

logically point out rationally argue

resultant benefits advantages that come as a result

check control

skyscrapers very tall buildings

preserved kept safe

pristine natural lands beautiful scenery

designated set aside for

national parks parks owned by the government

proximately located farms nearby farms

fast delivery times can get their goods more quickly

surplus land extra land/space

quiet suburban towns small, calm suburbs

raising a family having a family life

earning a good wage get good money

easy access no problem getting to

cultural benefits museums, music, libraries, etc.

metropolises big cities

facilitate make easier

living conditions how people live in a city

make more sense in the modern world more logical for the way things are now

nonetheless regardless

strike a balance be moderate

mitigate lessen, control

growing urban populations more and more people living in cities

quality infrastructure good buildings, streets, plumbing, etc.

Pronunciation

Listen and repeat:

ɪksˈpændɪŋ ˈʌpwədz 
əˈkɒmədeɪt ˈsɜːʤɪŋ ˈɜːbən ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃənz
prɪˈzɜːv ˈnɪəbaɪ lænd 
ˈʌðə ˈjuːzɪz 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤɪŋ ˈɜːbən sprɔːl
ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈprɛznt ˈʧælɪnʤɪz 
sprɛd-aʊt ˈsɪti 
ˈbɛtə ˈkwɒlɪti ɒv laɪf
kənˈdɛnst ˈɜːbən ˈeərɪəz 
əˈpɑːtmənt blɒks
ˈfeɪməsli ˈdɪfɪkəlt 
ˌəʊvəˈkraʊdɪŋ 
ˌsænɪˈteɪʃən
ˈseɪfti
ˈtræfɪk kənˈdɪʃənz
diːˈsɛntrəlaɪzd ˈsɪtiz 
juːˈniːk ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl ˈneɪbəhʊdz
ˌrɛzɪˈdɛnʃəl kənˈstrʌkʃən 
rɪˈdʌkʃən 
rɪˈpɔːt 
ˌsætɪsˈfækʃən 
trænsˈplɑːnts
ˈbɛtə ˈlɪvɪŋ ˈstændədz
ˈlɒʤɪkəli pɔɪnt aʊt 
rɪˈzʌltənt ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
ʧɛk 
ˈskaɪˌskreɪpəz
prɪˈzɜːvd 
ˈprɪstaɪn ˈnæʧrəl lændz 
ˈdɛzɪgneɪtɪd 
ˈnæʃənl pɑːks
ˈprɒksɪmɪtli ləʊˈkeɪtɪd fɑːmz 
fɑːst dɪˈlɪvəri taɪmz
ˈsɜːpləs lænd 
ˈkwaɪət səˈbɜːbən taʊnz 
ˈreɪzɪŋ ə ˈfæmɪli 
ˈɜːnɪŋ ə gʊd weɪʤ 
ˈiːzi ˈæksɛs 
ˈkʌlʧərəl ˈbɛnɪfɪts 
mɪˈtrɒpəlɪsɪz
fəˈsɪlɪteɪt 
ˈlɪvɪŋ kənˈdɪʃənz 
meɪk mɔː sɛns ɪn ðə ˈmɒdən wɜːld
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
straɪk ə ˈbæləns 
ˈmɪtɪgeɪt 
ˈgrəʊɪŋ ˈɜːbən ˌpɒpjʊˈleɪʃənz 
ˈkwɒlɪti ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

Many cities today are e______________________s to a__________________________________________s. In my opinion, this can help p________________________________d for o____________________s and is a better solution than e_________________________________l.

Some would a__________e that tall cities p_________________________s for inhabitants and a s__________________y offers b__________________________e. C_____________________________s with lots of tall a_______________________s, like in New York City or Shanghai, are f____________________t to live in due to the effects of o___________________g on s________________n, s___________y, and t_____________________________s. In contrast, d_______________________s like Los Angeles and Nashville allow for the development of u______________________________________s, more space for r_______________________________n and a r________________n of the urban issues listed above. Individuals living in these cities often r____________t greater feelings of s____________________n and many ‘t_________________s‘ move to such cities because of the b________________________s.

However, those in favour of taller buildings can l________________________t the r______________________s for the area around a city. It is often hard to c_________k the growth of economically important cities and that can lead to massive urban sprawl, as is in the case around Mexico City and Tokyo. By building more s_____________________s, the surrounding area can be p__________________d or used in another way. P__________________________s can be d_______________d as n______________________s. If the city requires more food to feed its population, there could be p__________________________________s with f________________________s. This s____________________d could also be turned into q__________________________s to give residents the choice of r_____________________y outside the city and still e_________________________e and having e___________________s to the c______________________________s of large m________________s.

In conclusion, horizontal cities f__________________e some positive l_____________________________s but taller cities m________________________________________d. It is, n__________________s, important to s______________________e and m_______________e the issues caused by g________________________________s with q___________________________e.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Listen to some architects here:

Reading Practice

Learn about the neighborhoods of Los Angeles below:

https://la.curbed.com/2018/6/15/17454456/los-angeles-neighborhoods-where-to-live-advice

Speaking Practice

Answer the following questions about urban planning from the real IELTS exam below:

Urban Planning

How important is urban planning for a city?

What are the possible drawbacks of not having a good plan?

How do cities in your country differ?

What effect do businesses have on urban planning?

How can people make their voices heard when it comes to urban planning?

Real IELTS Speaking Exam

Writing Practice

Write about the following related topic then check with my sample answer below:

There are severe social consequences to housing shortages in cities and only the government can solve these problems.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Real Past IELTS Exam

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