IELTS|Adults|Advanced|Unit 10|2. The Garden City


  • Did you grow up in the city or in the country?
  • What are some of the advantages of living in a city?
  • What aspects of life in the city would you complain about?
  • Which world city do you think would be the best to live in?
  • Which cities do you feel safe in?
  • How will cities in the future be different from those today?
  • What do you think should be done to improve living condition in cities?

(Academic Reading, General Training Reading and Listening Modules)

If you have to choose one answer, there will be three options (in the Listening Module, and occasionally in Reading) or four options (only in Reading).

If you have to choose more than one answer, there will be more options. In this case, the order of your answers isn’t important: for example, if the answers are A, C, D, and you write D, A, C, they will still be counted as correct.

Each question normally focuses on one part of the passage. However, in the Reading Modules you may be asked one multiple choice question about the whole passage.

The questions follow the order of information in the passage.

The options usually do not follow the order of information in the passage.

The questions and options are normally paraphrases of the passage.


All modules

  • Read the instructions carefully. Note how many answers are required for each question.
  • Read the first question. Look or listen for the relevant part of the passage. Read or listen carefully, considering all the options.
  • Consider the options in relation to the question. In some cases an option may be true, but does not answer the question. Eliminate options by putting a cross (X) beside them when you are sure they are wrong.
  • Always choose only the required number of options for each question.
  • Make sure you answer every question — you won’t lose marks for wrong answers.

1. This passage is similar to those in Section 4 of the Listening Module.

Questions 1-6

You will hear part of a lecture about the development of suburbs in the USA.

First you hose some time to look at questions 1 to 6. (pause)

Now listen carefully and answer questions 1 to 6.

Today we’re looking at how the suburbs of cities in the USA have developed since the middle of the 20th century. But first, a little history.

Suburbs have existed in various forms since antiquity, when cities typically were walled and the villages outside them were inferior in size and status. However, the modern American notion of the quiet, unspoiled outskirts as a retreat for the wealthy city dweller is in evidence as early as the 6th century BC in Babylon. Further early evidence comes from Cicero, writing in the 1st century BC, who refers to suburbani large country estates just outside Rome.

Throughout Europe, the distinction between the city and outlying districts tended to remain sharp through the Middle Ages and Renaissance. To accommodate a large influx of newcomers, city walls were expanded, or, as with London, towns, adjacent to the overcrowded city were gradually annexed to it. Generally considered a less desirable location, the urban periphery was inhabited largely by the poor.

In England, the rich who owned weekend villas outside London gradually transferred their main residences there, and the middle class soon followed. By the mid 19th century, there was a marked preference for suburban living. Migration from the central city to the suburbs was encouraged by a succession of technological advances in transportation. Horse-drawn stagecoaches, railways, and the electric streetcar or trolley all enabled urban dwellers to commute longer distances than had previously been practical.

Now in Europe, unlike the United States, suburbs grew organically, as a response to human needs, and each suburb there generally has a centre, and often has a quite distinct quality from other suburbs. Since the mid 20th century, however, North America has seen a distinctive pattern of growth, called suburban sprawl – an almost endless spread of low-density housing without any distinct neighbourhood centres. This is an artificial system, conceived by architects, engineers and planners, and it’s already showing itself to be unsustainable.

Unlike the traditional neighbourhood, sprawl is not healthy growth; it’s essentially self-destructive. It consumes land at an alarming rate, while producing insurmountable traffic problems. As the ring of suburbia grows around most North American cities, so the void at the centre grows too. Business and people move to fresher locations on a new suburban edge, leaving behind deteriorating downtown neighbourhoods, which can only be revitalised with enormous effort.

Suburban sprawl came about as the direct result of a number of US federal policies. The most significant were the housing and loan programmes which, from the 1940s provided encourage home purchase. These mortgages were directed at new single-family suburban construction, discouraging the renovation of existing housing stock and the construction of higher-density housing. Simultaneously, a major highway programme, coupled with the neglect of mass transit, helped make automotive commuting affordable and convenient for the average citizen.

Choose the correct answer.

Questions 7-11

Before you hear the rest of the lecture you have some time to look at questions 7 to 11. (pause)

Now listen and answer questions 7 to 11.

Suburban sprawl actually tends to be very simple, consisting of just a few components which are normally kept strictly segregated from each other. One component is housing subdivisions, which are districts consisting only of residences. They’re sometimes called villages, towns, or neighbourhoods by their developers, which is misleading, since those terms denote places which are not ettlmwly residential and which provide a richness of experience that is not available in a housing tract. Subdivisions can be identified as such by their contrived names, which tend toward the romantic, and often pay tribute to the natural or historic resource they have displaced: woodland, mills or ponds, maybe, that have been destroyed,

Another element, schools, have evolved dramatically in the past thirty or forty years. A comparison between the size of the car park and the size of the building is revealing: most are schools to which no child will ever walk. Pedestrian access is usually non-existent, and the spread of homes often makes school buses impractical, so the designs of schools in the new suburbs assume massive automotive transportation.

Other components, too, such as shopping areas and business parks, have their own separate locations. As a result, one of the most conspicuous components of sprawl consists of the endless roadways that are necessary to connect all these elements. Since each section of suburbia serves only one type of activity, and since daily life involves a wide variety of activities, the residents of suburbia spend an unprecedented amount of time and money moving from one place to the next. And as most of this motion takes place in singly occupied automobiles, even a sparsely populated area can generate the traffic of a much larger traditional town.

Now I’m going to examine the role…

Choose FIVE letters A-J.

Which FIVE claims does the writer make about suburban sprawl?

1. This passage is similar to those in the Academic Reading Module and Section 3 of the General Training Reading.

The Invention of the Garden City

The garden city was largely the invention of the British social visionary Ebenezer Howard (1850-1928). After emigrating to the USA, and an unsuccessful attempt to make a living as a farmer, he moved to Chicago, where he saw the reconstruction of the city after the disastrous fire of 1871. In those pre-skyscraper days, it was nicknamed ‘the Garden City’, almost certainly the source of Howard’s name for his proposed towns. Returning to London, Howard developed Iris concept in the 1880s and 1890s, drawing on notions that were circulating at the time, but creating a unique combination of proposals.

Tire nineteenth-century slum city was in many ways an horrific place; but it offered economic and social from existing cities to ensure that the land was bought at rock-bottom, depressed-agricultural, land values. They should get agreement from leading industrialists to move their factories there from the congested cities; their workers would move too, and would build their own houses.

Garden cities would follow the same basic blueprint, with a high proportion of green spaces, together with a central public open space, radial avenues, and peripheral industries. They would be surrounded by a much larger area of permanent green belt, also owned by the company, containing not merely farms, but institutions like reformatories and convalescent homes, that opportunities, lights and crowds. At the same time, the British countryside — now too often seen in a sentimental glow — was in fact equally unprepossessing: though it promised fresh air and nature, it suffered from agricultural depression and it offered neither sufficient work and wages, nor adequate social life. Howard’s idea was to combine the best of town and country in a new’ kind of settlement, the garden city. Howard’s idea was that a group of people should establish a company, borrowing money to establish a garden city in the countryside, far enough could benefit from a rural location.

As more and more people moved out, the garden city would reach its planned limit — Howard suggested 32,000 people; then, another would be started a short distance away. Thus, over time, there would develop a vast planned agglomeration, extending almost without limit; within it, each garden city would offer a wade range of jobs and services, but each would also be connected to the others by a rapid transit system, thus giving all the economic and social opportunities of a giant city.

2. Choose the correct answer.


1. Choose and write the words that best fits each space.

2. Complete each sentence with the most appropriate word from the box.

abandoned spread expanded founded
collapsed dispersed invaded conquered

3. Complete each job definition with a word from the box.

historian    anthropologist    genealogist    archaeologist    geneticist
geologist    palaeontologist    Egyptologist    etymologist

4. Choose the most suitable word in each sentence.


1. Replace the phrases in italics with the most appropriate phrase from the box.

golden age


era decade antiquity
dynasty prehistory lunar calendar millennia

2. Choose the correct word in italics to complete the collocation in bold.

3. Match the human achievements (1-7) with their consequences.