Urbanization and the Future of Cities

This short video from TED Ed looks at the history of our cities. It asks when and why humans began moving into cities, and what the future holds.


Lead In


  1. Do you prefer living in the city or the countryside? Why?
  2. What are the advantages or disadvantages of living in the city?


Listening for Main Idea

  1. What is this video about?

a) The history of cities.

b) The history and future of cities.

c) The future of cities.

d) Present-day cities.

Multiple Choice Questions

Watch the video and answer the following questions. (Answers are at the bottom of the page.)


  1. One hundred years ago, what percentage of the human population lived in cities?

a) 10%

b) 20%

c) 40%

d) 80%


  1. What lead to the development of the first semi-permanent settlements?

a) Changes in the global climate

b) An increase in fresh water supplies

c) Improvements in healthcare

d) Advancements in agriculture


  1. Which of these technologies developed because of the desire to trade with other cities?


a) Tractors

b) City walls

c) Roads

d) Aqueducts


  1. Why did people first move into cities?

a) Jobs

b) Fun

c) Safety

d) More farmland


  1. The global population is expected to peak at ___ billion.

a) 7

b) 6

c) 9

d) 10




Here’s an IELTS speaking part three question:

What are the advantages of living in a city or big town?

Sample answer:

There are many advantages of living in a city, such as having better access to medical care, education, cultural institutions, and having a better choice of employment. Living in a city usually allows people certain benefits in terms of convenience that are simply not available to those who live in the countryside.


Main Idea

  1. B

Multiple Choice

  1. B
  2. D
  3. C
  4. A
  5. D

Author: David S. Wills

David S. Wills is the author of Scientologist! William S. Burroughs and the 'Weird Cult' and the founder/editor of Beatdom literary journal. He lives and works in rural China, and loves to travel. He has worked as an IELTS tutor since 2010, has completed both TEFL and CELTA courses, and has a certificate from Cambridge for Teaching Writing. In 2018, he wrote the popular IELTS handbook, Grammar for IELTS Writing. His other IELTS website is called IELTS Teaching.

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