Housing and Trees in Urban Areas: IELTS Essay Question

Here is a recently reported essay question for IELTS writing task 2 and below are some ideas to help you with this topic.

Some people think that planting trees in open spaces in cities and towns is more important than building houses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Reasons for Using City Space for Trees

  • Trees and green areas create a peaceful living environment which promotes a better living standard and better mental health.
  • Trees produce oxygen which can counteract against heavy pollution in cities and create a better quality of air.
  • Heat in cities can be better controlled by having more trees which filter the sun’s heat and offer shade. This ultimately lowers the temperature.
  • Planting more trees in urban areas brings nature into cities which is beneficial to people without access to rural areas.
  • Noise levels can also be reduced by planting trees which can act as a buffer against sound.
  • Planting more trees can make the living environment more pleasant which is thought to reduce crime to some extent. Trees encourage people to enjoy their neighbourhood and be more active in it which deters petty crime.
  • Trees offer urban wildlife a better environment to live in and play a part in the ecosystem of a city.

Reasons for Using City Space for Housing

  • Lack of affordable housing can lead to rising crime rates. Thus by having more housing, there are more opportunities for everyone to get housing.
  • Without more housing, a city is unable to grow and develop which is essential in a world with an increasing population.
  • Housing is also essential for any country which is hoping to develop its economy as workers must have access to affordable homes.
  • Shelter is a basic requirement for life.
  • Urban space is limited and priority should be given to shelter rather than creating pleasant parks.
  • Without enough homes, people can become homeless which can leads to alcoholism and drugs or slums can develop which can be detrimental to any country.



  1. Gurpinder says

    It is thought by some people that planting trees in urban areas is more crucial than constructing residential buildings.While I agree that growing trees in cities will help in reducing air pollution, I believe priority should be given to provide shelter rather than creating beautiful parks.
    In conclusion, although trees are beneficial in improving quality of air however, having a place to live in is the basic requirement to survive

  2. Manoj Guragain says

    Mam could you please help how to get perfect examples for all kinds of essays .

    • Go the FREE Lessons & Tips on the red menu bar at the top of the website. Then select “Writing Task 2”. You will find essays, tips, lessons etc.

  3. Hi liz,

    Does the above question means:

    BP1: Y i agree for planting trees in open spaces
    BP2: Y i dont agree with open spaces being used for housing purpose

    Would be glad to hear your reply.


    • That’s correct. Your opinion must encompass both issues.

      • Thanks Liz for your reply.
        Pls what if I agree and
        For BP1 , I give a reason why trees should be planted in vacant areas and
        For BP2 I agree and I give reasons why housing facilities should be built instead.
        Does this work?

        • How can this work? If there is one space, you want to plant lots of trees in the space and lots of housing? It isn’t actually possible. What your view shows is that you haven’t thought about the situation enough and explained in which spaces you will have housing and in which spaces you will have trees. Explain your point clearly. Think more carefully.

      • Good morning and thanks Liz for your reply. I had to reanalyze the question. I feel the right thing to do is pick a side and give two points in support. Say for example I completely agree that trees should be planted instead of housing facilities and I use two points in support. My 1st BP would be how trees would enhance health through the production of oxygen.
        My 2BP would state how tree would reduce noise pollution. How about this?
        Kind regards

        • So you would completely ignore housing? You wouldn’t explain why you don’t believe housing is important? In that case, you would lose marks. If you believe in planting trees, you also believe in not building housing. Make sure your essay tackles both issues if you are presented with two.

  4. Dear Liz
    Please help me as i am struggling with thesis statement and ideas for BP on this essay,when i want to write a balanced approach..
    I have written it,but i need to know if it is correct.I am sorry ,i know you have such a lot of comments from a lot of ielts students,and i don’t want to waste your time(because i know you don’t give opinions on essays on comments),i am just asking if you can look at it,if not ,i understand you,and i am really happy with all you are giving to us.

    thesis statement-however,while i agree that planting trees is crucial for the environment and people’s health,i believe that population growth in these areas need housing,which can be provided by building houses.
    one bp-with regards to environment and health -planting trees and their importance
    2 bp- on the other hand,buildings give shelter and explaining the importance of housing

    is that way of answering- ‘sitting on the fence’ or is ok like this?
    Thank you Liz

    • It isn’t a clear opinion. It is a bit too much like sitting on the fence. You need to quantify – in which situations should we focus on parks and in which situations should we focus on building more housing. Think more about whether this is for new cities or old cities – for developing countries or developed countries. If you are not sure and worry about this, always go for a one-sided view to be safe.

  5. Hi,
    I would like to ask if I can choose a balance answer with this particular question. Can I agree on both or I need to choose one side only. Please enlighten me. Thanks.
    Some people think that planting trees in open spaces in cities and towns is more important than building houses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

    here is my introduction.
    People have different views about whether to use city spaces for planting trees or building houses for shelter. While I agree that housing is a basic commodity, I also believe that trees are essential for human survival.

  6. Good day! I’m little bit confuse if how can I write my arguments.. The question is ” some people think that human needs for farmland, housing and industry are more important than saving land for endangered species. Do you agree or disagree?”
    I agree, so my plan is to make 3 body paragraphs, 1 argument for agreeing that land for farms is more impt that saving land for animals, 1 for housing vs saving land for animals, and 1 for industry. Is this right and allowed?
    or should I put arguments in general (farmland, housing and industry) vs to saving land for animals?
    Thank You!

  7. Hi Liz,
    I am struggling to get ideas for task 2, can provide some suggestions to get improve please.

  8. Hi Mam,

    Your writing material & tips are really helpful & valuable. Thanks a ton.

  9. Hello teacher!
    If the statement says same people think…,however others believe … and question ask for only my opinion.should i discuss both wievs ?

  10. Farah fawzy says

    Hey Liz ,
    In this type of essays whether I agree or disagree for example I agree to plant trees I should talk also about houses or no?

    • You can’t ignore part of the task. If you agree in trees rather than houses, you must explain why you agree with having trees rather than houses. So, you cover both in your view.

  11. Amandeep Singh says

    Hello liz,

    First, i would like to thank you to give us such a valuable information to get our target. Also, I am very confused with those question which asked that WHAT EXTENT DO YOU AGREE OR DISAGREE? It means if i agreed with the statement then I only need to favor with the statements or can I also write the points of disagreed ???
    Can you please help me out here??
    Thanks ĺiz😊

  12. Hi Liz,
    I am really worried now because i took ielts in 23rd of July and was waiting to get results in 5 of August. But the british council emailed me and informed that my ielts results withheld without mentioning and reasons. Have your any students experienced such situation and when they got results? Is this related or influence to my band score? Will it be higher or lower?


    • I have never heard of this happening before. I suggest you contact the British Council again and ask for an explanation for them withholding your results. Make it very clear in your note that you are deeply concerned and would like to know why your results are being withheld.
      Good luck

  13. Hello Liz,

    I have made a short introduction on the given example above. Could you kindly give me a brief comment on my use of complex sentences and punctuations, and give some suggestions for improvement?

    Planting more trees in both urban and rural areas, particularly in wide spaces such as public parks where people often gather, is commonly thought to be more essential than constructing new houses that could lead to congestion. In my opinion, I strongly agree that, the more trees that an environment has, citizens and the ecosystem would be healthier.

    Best regards,

  14. Hi Liz,

    I would like to create a balanced approach pls comment on my introduction.

    It is often argued, that the act of planting trees in large areas in towns and in big cities is far better than creating and building houses for people. While i agree that shelter is essential to basic human needs, i also believe that more trees in urban areas is also useful in every human’s life.
    tnx in advance.

  15. Hi, Liz!
    I think the ideas are not enough for the essay, without covering the comparison between trees and houses. Shouldn’t we firstly discuss which is more important (for example, listing the results of lots of houses without trees or those of many trees without enough houses in Body Paragraph A, then we can give the reasons in Paragraph B and C), because the given statement mentions “more important than”? But the ideas for each are separated, without connections.
    Did I express myself clearly? I just wonder if we should compare these two items before we show our opinion about agreement.
    Thank you!

    • For an opinion essay, you put your opinion in the introduction and then explain it in the body paragraphs. You should choose a side or aim for a balanced approach but for this particular essay choosing one side is easier. These ideas are just to help you building supporting points.
      All the best

  16. Begin again says

    Dear Liz,

    Your valuable comments are required on my essay as I made a little effort with your help.

    Topic: Some people think that planting trees in open spaces in cities and towns is more important than building houses. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

    It depends on different individuals. In my opinion, health is one of the major concern nowadays so, we should use empty spaces for planting trees rather than building aggressively.

    On one hand, trees are very essential to be planted in metropolitan cities because people living urban areas hardly get the essence of rural area. Trees are the symbol of heathly environment and produce oxygen so, having more trees in your city will not only eliminate the health related issues but also improves the physical outlook of the city. Secondly, planting trees will bring wildlife environment to survive in city and produces a ecosystem of a city. Moreover, green belt creates a positive effect on the urban life as well as it lowers the temperature. Furthermore, noise pollution will be diminish by planting more trees, it can make the living environment more pleasant and soothing.
    On the other hand, growth is also very important building more houses means inviting more people to your area and increasing the population. Building houses can provide shelter which will fulfill the basic requirements of living beings. Secondly, urban areas easily get dense so the priority should be given to build proper housing scheme than constructing parks and losing valuable space. Because without homes, people can become homeless and frustrated which might lead to a detrimental of communities and cities. Moreover, housing is also very important for any country which is hoping to develop its economy as workers and labors should have access to affordable homes.
    All in all, I’m more concerned over human health as it is well said that “health is a wealth”. If we have healthy environment we can eventually grow. So, planting more trees will increase our growth as it can provide us a better and healthy environment.

  17. Lee Ji Eun says

    Hi, Mrs. Liz
    Firstly, please let me say thank to you for your very useful website. Can you help me look over the introduction of a related topic to this? Here are the question and my introduction :
    Global warming is one of the most serious issues that the world is facing today. What are the causes of global warming and what measures can goverment and individuals take to tackle the issue?
    Intro :
    Global warming is one of the most desparate difficulties that human have to deal with nowadays. This essay will show a number of justifications for the problem and give a suggestion on what people can do to solve it.
    Please check the work, and if you have time, can you give me some ideas for this essay?
    Thank you.

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