Session 3

Finding a place to live can be very difficult for young people. And in London it's almost impossible for some. One idea is to get elderly people to move to smaller houses to make room for younger people who need somewhere to live. Read an article to find out more and learn a pronunciation tip with Alice.

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2

Activity 1

Not enough space to live in

Finding solutions for London’s housing crisis

Over 7 million people live in the British capital, London, and the population keeps growing. There is a growing demand for new homes for Londoners. There are simply not enough places for people to live. And with house prices rising by more than 20 percent every year, it is becoming too expensive for first-time buyers to get on the property ladder.

What can be done to deal with this crisis? Read the rest of this article to find out.

Read the text and try the activity

One problem is that there are too many overcrowded homes – an English Housing Survey says that a quarter of children in London live in homes that are too small for their families. And many single elderly people live in large properties on their own. So, one solution is to ask these elderly people to move to smaller homes, making their former, larger houses available for house-hunters.

Elderly ladies in a care home

"We free up lots of family housing, and we look after ourselves when we're older because, sooner or later, those three-bedroom, four-bedroom family houses are going to be too much for us", says Local Government Association president Lord Richard Best.

Another suggestion is to build more on green belt land that lies between London and the M25 – the motorway that runs around the city. The Campaign to Protect Rural England reported in 2010 that there were 484,173 hectares of green belt land – making up 3.7% of England's total land area. Building on this land may be a way to create affordable housing for London's expanding population. But not everyone thinks this is a good idea. Elstree & Borehamwood Green Belt Society member Ann Goddard says, "Green belt is very important. You only have to look at the English countryside. It's so pretty."

Maybe the solution is to make use of land that was previously thought to be unusable. Brownfield sites are areas of land that were used for industrial or commercial purposes. Once they are cleaned up, these can then be used for new building projects, and in 2014 the Treasury announced plans to build 50,000 new London homes on brownfield sites. But this plan has its critics. As brownfield land can be contaminated, cleaning up these sites so they can be reused for building residential property can be a very long and expensive process.

In spite of all these proposed solutions to London's housing crisis, some people think that there is another more important factor to consider: simply ensuring that enough affordable housing is provided in any new building projects.

This article is based on an original BBC News story.

To do

How much did you understand of the article? Test what you know in this quiz!

Housing crisis questions

4 Questions

Choose the best answer for each question

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Now you've read an article and seen some examples of how we use too, very, and enough in a text. It's a good idea to look for the words you learn in the texts you read. Highlight them so that you become aware of the words they appear with. This will help you improve your understanding.

Now, it's time to join Alice again - she has another language tip for you. Find it on the next activity page.

Session Vocabulary

  • Londoners
    people who live in London

    first-time buyers
    people buying their first home

    the property ladder
    the stages in owning property, when you first buy a small house or flat, then a bigger one, then an even bigger one, and so on

    (here) houses, flats, apartments

    people looking for a house to buy

    family housing
    housing built especially for families

    green belt
    the name for an area of fields and trees and no city development around London

    relating to the countryside, not the city

    reasonably priced; not too expensive

    (here) getting bigger

    not good enough to be used

    used for industry and factories

    used for shops and stores

    the Treasury
    the UK government department responsible for deciding how the government spends money

    (here) people who disagree strongly with something

    used for housing