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City Life Essay With Quotations About Reading

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:  “By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote.”

To me, there is no exception with regard to cities, and the result is both humbling and inspirational.  I have a working hypothesis that websites which aggregate quotations about cities and city planning are among the most telling chroniclers of the relationship between humans and their urban environments.

Whether generic web destinations such as Brainy Quote or more specific, professionally oriented sites, the range of descriptors for cities give a backdrop for current issues and their context.

One such site, located here, is moderated by long-time Washington/Oregon planner and administrator, Rich Carson, and is a personal favorite.

Carson’s assembly of quotations, along with others I have found, led me to a “Top 15” selection.

Here is a topical summary of the 15  quotations and accompanying comment.

On the importance of cities

We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation.

(John F. Kennedy)

The axis of the earth sticks out visibly through the centre of each and every town or city.

(Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.)

President Kennedy’s words have new meaning amid today’s focus on urbanization as a driver of the national and world economy.  Nineteenth century “fireside poet” and physician Holmes, Sr. echoes this centrality.  Both statements should remain within the vocabulary of speechwriters.

On walkable cities

A city that outdistances man’s walking powers is a trap for man.

(Arnold J. Toynbee)

No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning.

(Cyril Connolly)

Here, Toynbee, the twentieth century British historian and author of the morals-based A Study of History, fueled the flame for walkable cities.  Connolly, a contemporary writer, editor and critic, was not far behind.  To me, both quotations are far more relevant than arcane.

On natural systems

I’ve often thought that if our zoning boards could be put in charge of botanists, of zoologists and geologists, and people who know about the earth, we would have much more wisdom in such planning than we have when we leave it out the engineers.

(William O. Douglas)

The smallest patch of green to arrest the monotony of asphalt and concrete is as important to the value of real estate as streets, sewers and convenient shopping

(James Felt)

Justice Douglas wryly captures the importance of natural systems to land use regulation and decision-making.  James Felt, a mid-twentieth century New York City developer and philanthropist, echoes the sentiment while Chair of the New York City Planning Commission.  Their perspectives are reminiscent of the holistic view of today’s urbanist.

On growth

In the annals of history, many recognize that we have moved as far as we can go on untamed wheels. A nation in gridlock from its auto-bred lifestyle, an environment choking from its auto exhausts, a landscape sacked by its highways, has distressed Americans so much that even this go-for-it nation is posting “No Growth” signs on development from shore to shore. All these dead ends mark a moment for larger considerations. The future of our motorized culture is up for change.

(Jane Holtz Kay)

Growth is inevitable and desirable, but destruction of community character is not. The question is not whether your part of the world is going to change. The question is how.

(Edward T. McMahon)

Architecture and planning writer and critic Jane Holtz Kay captures today’s focus on alternative transportation modes in her 1998  book, Asphalt Nation, while long-time smart growth advocate Ed McMahon frames the key question of how best to channel and balance urban growth.  Their sentiments remain most relevant to the interplay of land use and transportation, as well as facilitating livable communities with transportation choices.

On children

In the planning and designing of new communities, housing projects, and urban renewal, the planners both private and public, need to give explicit consideration to the kind of world that is being created for the children who will be growing up in these settings. Particular attention should be given to the opportunities which the environment presents or precludes for involvement of children both older and younger than themselves.

(Urie Bronferbrenner)

Bronferbrenner, a twentieth century psychologist and systems theorist, captures the generational orientation of the sustainable city, and his words need little elaboration, except, perhaps, by my supplied imagery.

On the regional focus

The metropolitan region is now the functional unit of our environment, and it is desirable that this functional unit should be identified and structured by its inhabitants. The new means of communication which allow us to live and work in such a large interdependent region, could also allow us to make our images commensurate with our experiences.

(Kevin Lynch)

In his 1960 classic, The Image of the City, urban planning and design academic Kevin Lynch presented spatial tools for understanding cities and their surroundings, defined discrete elements of urban form, and argued for their incorporation into planning practice.  Today, few would argue with his influential precepts.

On urban sentiment

I have an affection for a great city. I feel safe in the neighbourhood of man, and enjoy the sweet security of the streets.

(Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

In Rome you long for the country; in the country – oh inconstant! – you praise the distant city to the stars.


Almost two thousand years apart, two revered poets comment, with reference to timeless qualities of city life.

On the people

Any city however small, is in fact divided into two, one the city of the poor, the other of the rich. These are at war with one another.


What is the city but the people?

(William Shakespeare)

Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.

(Desmond Morris)

From Book IV of Plato’s Republic  to Shakespeare’s lesser known tragedy, Coriolanus, to zoologist Desmond Morris’ 1969 contrast of human tribal beginnings with modern life, the city has been center to social, economic and political analysis.  In light of the last year, in which social protest has reemerged in urban places around the world, these three perspectives have never been more relevant.

In conclusion, to better understand contrasting points of view about cities, books, magazines and online articles are not the only informational alternatives.  As the 15 contributions presented here illustrate, Emerson’s opening observation about the necessity of quotation is itself alive and well.

All images composed by the author.  Click on each photograph for more detail.

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IELTS Writing Task 2 Sample 33 - Compare the advantages and disadvantages of living in the city to living in the country side

Last Updated: Tuesday, 04 October 2016 11:05
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IELTS Writing Task 2/ IELTS Essay:

You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.

Present a written argument or a case to an educated reader with no specialised knowledge of the following topic:

Some people think that cities are the best places to live. Others prefer to live in a rural area. Compare the advantages and disadvantages of living in the city to living in the countryside.

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your experience.

You should write at least 250 words.

Model Answer 1:
The places where people live affects greatly in their lifestyles and the living place is one of the very basic needs for people. People opine differently while choosing the living places. Some prefer and argue that city is the best place to live at since it provides so many advantages over the rural area, but other think that villages are the best places to live a good life. Both places have advantages and disadvantages.

It is true that a city offers so many opportunities and advantages those are absent in a countryside. For instance, the modern transportation and communication systems are better in any city compared to a village. In a city people have access to many different transportation systems and have latest technologies to communicate; like cellular phones, internet, fax etc. Moreover, when a new technology arrives at the country it is first introduced in the city area and usually 2/3 years later to the village. Secondly, cities provide better security to its inhabitants like the mobile police patrols, special forces, community police, security guards, traffic police etc. But in the village, the number of security force persons are too low compared to the overall population. Moreover, cities provide better treatment, hospitals, qualified doctors, better educational institutes, and amusement parks etc which are really inevitable to lead a better life. In many cases, those facilities are absent or rare in a village. In my opinion, the reason for why most people tend to live in a city is the vast opportunities of jobs. Most of the corporate offices, industries, factories, government offices, garments and manufacturing industries are either situated in a city or close to the city. People have much more employment opportunities in a city than a village. On the contrary, people living in a village, are often forced to do a job that is not suitable at all for him since the job opportunity is so narrow there. Again, schools or colleges are not equipped with a better environment, labs, teachers and that's why students in a village might not get a better education he/she deserves. If we consider the entertainment facilities in a city then citizens of a city have so many options like theatre, park, art gallery, museum, amusement parks, libraries etc. But people in the villages have only TV or books and very little facilities to spend leisure time.      

On the other hand, Villages offer many invaluable advantages those are completely absent in the cities. First of all, someone living in a village can get fresh air and water. There is no intense pollution with smoke, Carbon-DI-oxide, Carbon-mono-oxide, Nitrous-Oxide and people living in a village are less prone to suffer diseases like asthma, bronchitis etc. The city can provide security against visible foes but it causes people to face some invisible and dangerous enemies like toxic and polluted air, water and environment. Secondly, people of villages live much nearer to the nature and breathe in the fresh air, as well as eat fresh foods, vegetables, fruits collected directly from the garden. On the contrary vegetables, foods, fruits in the cities are normally stored and mixed with preservatives and can cause serious harms to the health. The living cost in a countryside is much lesser than that of a city. The density of population in a village is much less than a  city and village people are naturally grow up their personal relationship among all people and live like a real community and take care of each other. While in the city people do not know even who live in the next door and personal relationship in a community is rare.

In my case, I prefer to live in the city. I feel relaxed and comfortable staying in my own city. There are lots of facilities I can't deny are presented in my city and those are the invaluable part of my lifestyle. Moreover, I like to lead a busy and challenging life and want to be connected with the world. I enjoy visiting countryside but get bored there if I stay more than 2/3 days because all of my necessary stuff to lead my as usual life are absent there.

(Approximately 694 words)
(This model answer has been prepared by the site developer. However, please note that this is just one example out of many possible answers.)

Model Answer 2:
Whether cities are better than rural area or vice-versa is a contentious question, it depends on one's choice, as to, what they prefer. Both cities and rural areas have their pros and cons.  Rural areas have quaint environments whereas there is always something fascinating about big cities.

Cities generally have better infrastructure, education system and advance health care facilities. You get to meet people from all walks of life, learn to coexist with people from different ethnicity, race, caste and culture; hence you become more tolerant, open minded and start respecting each other differences. Whereas countryside people are less tolerant, caste system still prevails and the powers lie with a certain group of people. If you see, today in India, Love marriages /inter-caste marriages are very common in cities, whereas people are being murdered in the name of honour in rural areas. Gender inequality is very evident in a rural area, where women are being restricted only to household chores and do not have much say in decision making, but in cities, both are treated equally. It is not uncommon to see people migrating to cities for better jobs, better education.

People in the cities are always under tremendous pressure and stress, they always have to be up to date with technologies and hence there is no time to relax. Recently studies have shown a surge in the number of cases of heart attacks, which is due to increase in stress level. People in cities are constantly exposed to high level of pollution, adulterated food and chemically grown vegetables, which adversely affects their health, owing to which the average life of people living is cities is less than people living in rural area. Increased cases of obesity, suicides, diabetes are also resulting in stress and unhealthy living. Rural areas on other hand have no or very less pollution, pure food item and less stress, people have more time for themselves and their families.

To sum up, I think both cities and rural areas have their own charm. Cities have more busy and hectic life but have better facilities, rural areas, on the contrary, have more relaxed, laid back lifestyle but lacks in up to date technologies like computers and international standard of healthcare and education system.

(Approximately 374 words)

[ by - Preeti]

Model Answer 3:
Many people consider living in cities and they think that this is more advantageous while another group prefers living in the countryside as they find it as a better alternative. Living in a city and in an urban area, both has their advantages and disadvantages.

First of all, living in a city is very stressful as the life is very busy and competitive there. Cities have lot more vehicles, industries and a large population and that pollutes the environment which is very harmful to the health. It is particularly tough for low earning people as the expenses in living in a city is always higher. People suffer from many health problems that live in a city and especially they suffer a lot in the old ages. Recently I have read a book and this book reveals some surprising facts about living in a city. I was pretty surprised to find that ''people who live in country sides have more life expectancy than live in an urban area.''

On the other hand, city life offers numerous facilities and opportunities compared to the living in urban area. For instance, job opportunity and to run small businesses have better prospects in a city than in the countryside. People can easily find a new job in case s/he loses a job and there are many other earning prospects in a city that could not be found in a village. For economically solvent people, the city offers many social and entertainment facilities like Cineplex, sports event in stadiums, amusement parks, museum etc. Opposite to this, rural areas do not offer many opportunities for social life and lacks the entertainment facilities. Also, people can’t purchase everything they need from a village market and markets are very rare in most of the urban areas. Regarding this, I would like to mention my own experience that I had a few days back. I went to a rural area called Tillo and I had my cell phone damaged there. I could not find any phone servicing centre there and I had to go to the city to have it repaired.

In conclusion, both the cities and rural areas have their advantages and disadvantages.

(Approximately 358 words)

Model Answer 4:
Our earth is home to around six billion people living all around the globe, many of them are urbanites and other ruralites. One line of thought of society states that it’s beneficial to live in urban areas, however, others stand opposite to it. But this thought is gyrated by many reasons.

The urban society provides great means of basic amenities necessary for living life. We can find lot schools and other education institutions in cities where the tiny tots make their future and turn into better future civilians. On the contrary, the students from villages come to the cities to have the education. Health facilities are also found in abundance in urban areas. Whenever the people in a rural area  have any serious health issues rush to the urban areas to avail these facilities. Apart from this, the vast amount of transports facilities has made life immensely easy to live in urban areas. On the flipside, the villagers have great difficulty in transport as proper means are not present and if present the roads are not proper to run them as they are never properly sanitised. The facilities of shopping malls and supermarkets have helped to gain access to necessary items under one roof easily decreasing our time utility.

However, if take a glance at rural society, we will be able to find lush green fields, fresh air and pure environment which is highly polluted in the cities. The villagers have a healthy lifestyle which is very scant in urban areas. People of rural areas are more socialised whereas that of urban areas are mammon worshippers, always running to make both ends meet. Parents of urban society have very less time due to which they are slowly drifted in oblivion, whereas the children of rural society share a great bond with their parents. The crime rate is far less in rural parts as compared to urban where crime is found in every nook and corner of the society.  

At last keeping all the aspects in mind, we can conclude that living in any part has both benefits and drawbacks, however, it’s totally subjective choice that which society cater our needs better.

(Approximately 360 words)

[ by - Amarveer]

Model Answer 5:
In the modern society, some people like to live in a city area and few enjoy an open countryside to live. There are some blessings and drawbacks in both sites. Many people of today’s society are of the opinion that living in cities is better than living in a rural area while others oppose this concept but my inclination is toward the former.

On one hand, it is believed that city life has significantly various advantages in contrast to rural life. The most vital point for the demand which can initially be mentioned is that all services are easily reachable in the city area. Such as most of the major educational institute, hospital, bank all are generally situated in the city area. So city dwellers can get these services within a short period rather than who lives in villages. For example, we used to stay in villages but when we were in grade six our parents sent us to town for better education. What's more, city people can enjoy their life with different amusing activities called as theatre, cultural activities and visit a nice restaurant. But in a village, there is no such place where villagers can animate their free time so life is so boring. A further point is that there are a lot of working opportunities in the commercial area. To clarify this matter people can find any suitable job in the factory, hotel, restaurant, shopping mall and run their livelihood, besides also enhance the economic growth of any countries.

On the other hand, there are some negative sides to living in town and have some positive points to live in the countryside. What can be cited first regarding this is city life are more stressful due to its busy atmosphere and noisy heavy traffics while a countryside is a peaceful place to live because of its quiet and calm environment, villagers can breathe in open air and enjoy the tranquillity of the environment.

In a nutshell taking all the aforementioned pros and cons into account, I personally admire to live in town.

(Approximately 334 words)

[ by - Monowara]

Model Answer 6:
Peoples have different opinions while choosing their living place. Some people think that a village is a better place to live in, while others think a city is a preferred candidate to choose for their living. In my opinion,  there are several reasons to believe that cities are the best places to live in because they provide facilities for a comfortable life.  

First of all, a city provides better education and career prospects .The renowned and excellent schools are built in the cities because most of the population live in cities. These schools employ the qualified teachers to provide education to the children. A child who gets the education in a city is considered the better one because of his broad range of experience and deep knowledge. The government and private businessman build universities and colleges in the city to improve the learning and skills in students. Various laboratories use the advanced appliances instruments that aid the students in higher education especially in research and this facility is mostly available in a city area. I have learned to operate IR spectrophotometers from Punjab University which is situated in Chandigarh City and cities are mostly the hub of education.

Moreover, a city provides better prospects of life. The shops, malls are built in a city to attract customers from large area. The important home appliances like fan, refrigerator, car etc. are available in cities at a reasonable cost. Government offices are built in cities. Living in cities can help avoiding the dwellers to travel from village to city to do important official works. A city also provides sources of entertainment. Many festivals, carnivals are organised in the cities. Even peoples from the rural area come to a city to watch their favourite movies in Cinema Hall and Theatres. Sports stadium, training centres are located in cities. City life offers too many facilities that are absent in rural lives.

The most important thing is that the city provides better medical services. Best hospitals, medical centres are built in big towns so that majority of people can have medical facilities. In these centres, expert doctors, specialist like neurosurgeons, heart surgeon works to treat peoples. These medical centres not only use advanced machines & instruments but also offer operation theatres for different types of operations for critical diseases. Cities are safe on health ground and have well-planned sanitation to avoid spreading epidemic. Cities have lifesaving medical centres.

In summation, it is clear that city is the better place to live. The city not only provides good education and civil life but also provides best medical facilities.

[ by - Tersem]