Reading: / Matching Headings / Part 9

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1-5 which are based on Reading Passage 


A I don't want to live in a city. Perhaps we divide naturally into two types: those for whom cities are vibrant and exciting, a focus for human activity; and those for whom they are dirty, noisy and dangerous. It may be unfashion­able, but I'm in the latter camp. I do not believe that we are a species whose behaviour improves in overcrowded conditions.

B   A new study proposes a significant increase in the capacity of towns and cities through a combination of increased housing densities, lower on-plot provision for cars and more on-street parking, and the re-use of marginal open space that is 'devoid of any amenity value'. The benefit of this approach is to reduce the loss of green fields and to help 'move towards more sustainable patterns of development'.

C   This study suggests that it would be possible to achieve a 25% increase in density in a typical provincial city without changing the traditional street scene, although it would be necessary to reduce the size of the houses and substi­tute parking spaces for garages. Therefore, the cost of this approach is to have more people living in smaller homes at higher densities, along streets that are lined with parked cars. Can we really accept the notion that space within dwellings may be reduced even further? In times, when, we are told, living standards are rising in real terms, is it realistic to seek to reduce personal space standards?

D   The streets of many inner suburbs are already lined with cars on both sides, reducing movement to a single lane. Increasing densities means accept­ing urban streets that are designed as linear car parks, bounded by even smaller living units and tempered only by occasional trees sprouting from the tarmac. Would the benefits of higher density be worth the disadvantages of increasing on street parking? Can we achieve a satisfactory visual environ­ment from such raw materials? Higher urban densities may be communally good for us, but they will fail to meet the aspirations of many prospective home owners.

E   Those without economic choice can be directed to live in this way, but if we are to continue to rely on the private sector to produce this urban housing, it will need to appeal to the private developers' customers. Who will choose to live in these high-density developments of small dwellings, with minimal open space and a chance to park on the highway if you are lucky enough to find a space? The main con­sumers will be single people, couples without children, and perhaps some 'empty nesters' (people whose children have grown up and left home). These are people who can choose to spend much of their time outside their home, making the most of those urban, cultural opportunities or getting away at week­ends to a country cottage or sporting activities.

F    The combination of a young family and a mortgage restricts the mobility and spending power of many couples. Most people with a family will try to avoid bringing up their children in a cramped flat or house. Space for inde­pendent activity is important in devel­oping the individual and in maintaining family equilibrium. The garden is the secure place where the children can work off excess energy.

G   There is a danger that planners may take a dispassionate, logical view of how we should live, and seek to force society into that mould. A few years ago a European Commission study provided a good example of this. It took the view, quite sensibly, that housing should not be under-occupied because this is a waste of resources. Therefore, it would be much better if the many thousands of old ladies who live alone in large detached houses would move into small urban flats, thus releasing the large houses for families. What the study failed to recognise was that many of those old ladies prefer to continue to live in their family home with their familiar surroundings and, most impor­tantly, with their memories. What is good for us is not necessarily what we want.

H   The urban housing option may be technically sustainable, but individually unacceptable. There still seems to be a perception among planners that new housing investment can be forced into those areas that planners want to see developed, without proper considera­tion of where the prospective pur­chasers want to live. There is a fatal flaw in this premise. Housing develop­ers run businesses. They are not irrevo­cably committed to building houses and they are not obliged to invest their resources in housing development. Unless there is a reasonable prospect of a profit on the capital at risk in a housing project, they may simply choose to invest in some other activity.
Questions 1-5

Reading Passage has 8 sections A-H. Choose the most suitable heading for sections C-F and H from the list of headings below. Write the appropriate numbers (i-ix) in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet.

Note: There are more headings than sections so you will not use all of them. You may use the headings more than once.


(i)         Rational city planning

(ii)        Family housing

(iii)       Parking facilities in the city

(iv)      Profit-making housing developments

(v)        Parking your car

(vi)      Cities for people?

(vii)       Appropriate living space

(viii)    High density accommodation in cities

(ix)      Housing as a business

Example                                           Answer

 Section A                                             vi

1. Section C …..

2. Section D …..

3. Section E …..[

4. Section F …..

5. Section H …..