This is a sample response for IELTS Speaking Part 2 and 3. In addition to the model answer there are highlighted words and phrases. Teal is for vocabulary relating to this topic, yellow is for generally useful words and phrases.
IELTS Speaking Part 2
You should say:
- which city it was
- what what the reason for visit or living there
- what you liked about it
and say what was most memorable about the visit.
Due to work-related reasons I once had to spend a year in a little town near Madrid I can hardly even remember the name of. It was a small town, I think it had just north of 50 thousand people there. The city was really endearing, almost rustic in an urban way. The town felt like it was stuck in 2001, in a good way. There were no shopping centres or any other major points of attraction. The commercial district was mostly comprised of small, family-owned businesses. Another great thing about the place is that it was very walkable. What I mean is the town felt like it was built around the idea of getting somewhere on foot rather than by car – a welcomed change from the car-centric cities of today.
One thing that I still have a vivid recollection of is how people would flock to the only local park after work. The place is very popular both with the youth and older citizens. It was the only time I witnessed such enthusiasm within a community about a regular park. It might sounds like nothing special, but I guess you had to be there to see it.
IELTS Speaking Part 3
Future of the cities
What do you think will be the biggest change in cities in the next 20 years?
Predicting future is no easy task, but one might entertain certain possibilities. One possibility is decentralisation of cities. What I mean is people will no longer flock to the biggest urban centres. The reason they do now is mainly job opportunities – and this is not going to be that big of a reason in the future thanks to work from home opportunities. We might see smaller towns and villages repopulated by young specialists with families. Another likely change is emergence of ultra low-budget housing solutions as accommodation becomes less affordable. This be something like sleeping pods with shared amenities like kitchen and bathroom.
In what ways do you think technology will transform city life in the future?
One could guess that life in the city is going to grow even more phone-centered. We have already got used to paying with our phones, hailing a cab with an app, making online purchases. I think the next step could be using the phone as a key, a sort of an authorisation device. This could give you access to your car, flat, the workplace and so on. The safety concern isn’t that big as your phone is as likely to be stolen or lost as your keys.
Another possible tech-related innovation could be automated car-pooling. A system would track people with the same commute routes and automatically assign them to one car, possibly compensating the driver for that. This would both decrease environmental impact and ease transport congestion.
How can cities become more sustainable and environmentally friendly in the future?
One rather radical but effective approach to environmental safeguarding was implemented by London. As far as I know, they have completely banned fossil-fuel cars from entering the city centre. Naturally, it caused a public outcry, but such things are natural, people are averse to changes. My point is, it worked and more cities should follow this example, slowly pushing out vehicles with high carbon footprint. People have been using the same combustion technology for well over a century and it’s about time somebody did something about this.
As for sustainability, the state could introduce stricter rules on recycling and sorting of garbage. This issue is becoming more pressing as world population rises, so enforcing more eco-conscious disposal of waste is a must. Even if takes fines or administrative penalties, it has to be done before it’s too late.
Life in the city
What are the challenges of living in large urban areas?
The cause of most problems city dwellers face is either direct or indirect consequence of high population density. A good example is traffic congestion. During peak commute times most cities grind to a halt as most people nowadays choose personal car as a means of getting from A to B. No amount of urban planning can solve that. Another issue stemming from the sheer number of people living in cities is crime. The police is simply unable to performs its duties given the scale and size of their precinct. Finally, even though humans are social animals, many would rather live in a more private fashion, which is rather tricky in a big city as you are always surrounded by people, either literally or figuratively.
Some people say that cities are becoming increasingly expensive to live in. Do you agree?
While it might not be true for every city in existence, the general trend appears to be that way. As cities grow increasingly popular with professionals its real estate price goes higher. This is further exacerbate by gentrification of the more prestigious district, driving the costs further up. However, even though property prices are high indeed, the opposite could be said about consumer goods. Anything from groceries to electronics tends to be cheaper due to higher sales volume and ease of logistics. It is much cheaper to get things delivered to a larger shop in bulk rather than to a remote village in lower quantity. This naturally benefits the consumer who ends up paying less. Therefore, while some aspects of life in the city have higher price tag, others might be more affordable.
Do you believe that urbanization is beneficial or harmful to society as a whole? Why?
I’m afraid there is no cut and dried answer to this as there are many factors to take into account. On one hand, large urban centres naturally have much better infrastructure. This ensures that people get the best possible healthcare, education, they are safe. On the other hand, urbanisation means brain drain from smaller towns. Promising young specialist leave their hometowns, seduced by lucrative employment prospects bigger cities can provide. This eventually leaves to smaller towns median age to rise as the youth seeks their fortune elsewhere. So all in all it’s a rather big question with no definite answer.