You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
More and more people in the city live in homes with small spaces or no outdoor areas. Do you think it is a negative or positive development?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
It is true that increasing numbers of people now live in cities in housing which is cramped or where there is no outdoor area. While living in small flats or houses may be more affordable, I would argue that this is largely a negative development.
Smaller housing units are cheaper to rent or to buy, and therefore many urban dwellers choose to live in them as the best available option. In the developing world, the mass exodus to the cities has resulted in a high population density, and the available housing stock has been inadequate to cope with growing demands. High- rise buildings, comprising small flats, have been constructed as a response to public housing needs or as the best means for property developers to make money. Yet they are in popular demand, as many people are prepared to put up with living in a confined space or to endure squalid living conditions, because they cannot afford exorbitant rents. It is a much better alternative than living on the streets.
However, this trend in the property market has significant negative aspects. Firstly, with lack of space comes lack of privacy. Even in a developed country like the UK, many traditional houses which used to occupy the inner city areas, have now been divided into multiple occupancy, with all the inconvenience of sharing bathrooms and kitchens. Secondly, a feature of contemporary urban living is the lack of a garden, or even a yard, in which children can play or laundry can be dried. If children cannot play outside in the sunshine, then their physical development will suffer and, of course, they will be unhappy.
In conclusion, while some welcome a small living space as their only financial option, this trend must be regarded as largely negative.
cramped[adjective]: not having enough space or time
affordable[adjective]: able to be bought or rented by people who do not earn a lot of money
urban dweller: a person who lives in an urban area
mass exodus: the movement of a lot of people from a place
population density: a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume
housing stock: the total number of houses and apartments in an area
inadequate[adjective]: too small in amount
to cope with: to deal successfully with a difficult situation
High-rise building: a tall building public housing: a form of housing tenure in which the property is owned by a government authority
property developers: a person whose job involves buying and selling buildings and land, and arranging for new buildings to be built
endure[verb]: to suffer something difficult, unpleasant, or painful
squalid[adjective]: extremely dirty and unpleasant
living conditions: the circumstances of a person’s life—shelter, food, clothing, safety, access to clean water, and such
exorbitant rents: very high amount of money that you pay regularly for the use of a room, house, car, etc. that someone else owns
living on the streets: to be homeless
the property market: the buying and selling of land and buildings
inner city areas: the central part of a city where people live
multiple occupancy: residential properties where ‘common areas’ exist and are shared by more than one household
a feature of contemporary urban living: a typical quality of city life today
laundry[noun]: the dirty clothes and sheets that need to be, are being, or have been washed