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Topic: key problems facing the world's cities in the 21st century and solutions


I'm practising the IELTS Academic writing - Task 2
I hope someone can check my essay and give me some advice. Thank you in advance.


Topic: What are the key problems facing the world's cities in the 21st century, and what can be done about them?

the new era - the new problems



Nowadays, almost half of the world's population live in urban areas. The overcrowding has serious consequences for the standards of living of city dwellers. In this essay, I would like to argue two of the most pressing urban problems: air pollution and homelessness.

First and foremost, pollution is undoubtedly the most serious. The overcrowding of the cities and the urban sprawl are damaging the environment. In fact, the metropolitan areas are markedly becoming concrete jungles overwhelming by smog in due to the disappearance of green spaces in favour of the uncontrolled construction of roads and buildings.

The government should play a crucial role in protecting green belts and promoting green areas in the urban planning. Moreover, other common suggestions in order to reduce the urban impact should be the imposing of vehicle taxes and the encouraging of the usage of public transports.

Considering the second problem, the urban areas suffer from an increased homelessness. Since the outbreak of the financial crisis in 2008, a considerable number of inhabitants lost their belongings falling into poverty. In addition, a large proportion of people from the rural area, bearing the brunt of economic crisis, has flocked to the cities hoping to find job opportunities but, in the end, forced to live on the streets.

Any civilian society should try to prevent and tackle this situation. A solution could be guarantee government subsidies in order to assure living condition over the poverty line. Furthermore, the authorities should promote the construction of homeless shelters and council estate to avoid the increment of homeless.

In conclusion, clearly, these are complex problems difficult to solve. Nevertheless, unless we take steps to face them now they will represent even more serious challenges in future.

Micol, the prompt of your essay does not in any way imply argumentative essay, therefore, the word 'argue' in your introductory paragraph is not necessary. The second paragraph is not coherent enough. Usually, the first sentence of paragraphs other than the first paragraph in this type of essay is a topic sentence that introduces the point or idea which is elaborated in the next 2-3 sentences. Of course, the point or idea in question must have been introduced in the first paragraph; the introductory paragraph. So, considering your second paragraph, I could see 'pollution' and 'overcrowding'. It would serve best if you discuss only 'pollution' in the context of the problem facing urban cities and not both.. Even if you want to mention 'overcrowding', your expression should reflect how it contributes to pollution in these cities and not stating it the way you did in your current draft. Since you were particular about air pollution, as depicted in the opening paragraph, your discussion should address it and not pollution in general. Also, it is better to develop paragraphs that reflect all the problems first, followed by the solutions and then conclusion. Your current draft alternates problem and solution from second to fourth paragraphs and that's not what the prompt required. The prompt asked you to state 'what can be done about them'. This means that you should talk about the problems and then suggest what the solutions could be. Avoid using vocabularies that would make your points to be unclear to the reader ( see ...becoming concrete jungles overwhelming by smog in due to...). The highlighted expression renders the point in your second paragraph somewhat ambiguous. Overall, for a starter, your sentence construction and grammar is admirable. You only need to improve on that by engaging in more practices.


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