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IELTS essay, topic: High-rise vs. low-rise buildings, which solution is better for a growing population?

Some cities create new housing for their growing populations by constructing a smaller number of high-rise buildings. Other cities create more of low-rise buildings. Which solution is better, in your opinion?

Sample Essay

Rising population in urban areas leaves governments with no choice but to build more houses to meet the demand. However, when it comes to construction, there is more than one way to build new homes. Some cities prefer to construct fewer residential towers, while others build a larger number of low-rises for their residents. In this essay both options will be discussed and a viable solution will be suggested.

One advantage of tall buildings is that they can accommodate a large number of people while having a small footprint. This type of construction is popular in central city areas where land is scarce and expensive. For example, in New York City high-rise buildings have significantly reduced housing problems, by as much as 55% in the last few years. As a result of this strategy, rents tend to decrease which has a further positive impact on the economies of such cities. However, tall buildings offer little or no privacy, they force certain rules and regulations upon residents, and attract higher maintenance costs.

Given a chance to voice their opinion, many individuals would prefer to live in low-rise buildings or even build their own houses. This option might be more attractive for big families and for older generation people who like to have their own personal space. Accessibility is also a concern for the elderly as taking the stairs when the lifts break down may not be an option for them. In addition, one or two-story houses are easier and cheaper to maintain compared to modern apartment towers. The downside of this type of dwellings is that they occupy much more land, and since land is cheaper on city fringes, new estates tend to be built away from city centres. This increases commute time to work for their residents and negatively affects their quality of life.

In conclusion, high-rise and low-rise buildings have their unique advantages and disadvantages. In my opinion, high rises are more suitable for younger residents and should be built in the areas where young population is prevalent, closer to the city centre and employment opportunities. Senior citizens should have a supply of lower dwellings available in quieter locations. Such flexible approach can be a good way to address the needs of growing city’s population.

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