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Villages for Sale

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In many countries, young people have moved from rural to urban areas for jobs, prosperity, and a more exciting life. As a result, much of the population in the countryside often consists of the elderly, as well as a few youths with dreams of escape. Of course, these communities recognize the problem, and many have tried to lure residents back. There might be tax breaks, offers to telecommute with fast, reliable Internet access, or advertisements appealing to a safer environment to raise children. The successes have been mixed, depending on the location and the incentive.

In Spain, though, the problem of depopulation is extremely serious. There are hundreds upon hundreds of villages where not a single person lives. In recent years, as numbers dwindled in smaller villages, schools closed, which caused even more residents to opt for larger locales with schools, hospitals, and public transportation.

For some people, the result is an opportunity. People with spare cash can buy houses, farmland, or even whole villages. A village in a fertile area might sell for as little as $230,000. In a poorer area, the asking price might be only tens of thousands of dollars.

For others, though, there is only sadness. The older people in the area remember happier times. They hope that if people buy the various properties, then someone will look after part of the country's heritage.


Preview some of the lesson material:

Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?

  1. It's much cheaper to live in the countryside than in the city.
  2. It's much safer to live in the countryside than in the city.
  3. I would prefer to live in a rural area than in a large city.
  4. If I didn't need to worry about money, I would like a second home in the countryside.
  5. In the future, everyone will live in urban areas.

Fragments: Remember how the fragments were used, and complete the sentence from today's article.

  1. In many countries, young people have moved from rural to urban areas for...
  2. Of course, these communities recognize the problem, and...
  3. The successes have been mixed, depending...
  4. There are hundreds upon hundreds of villages where...
  5. People with spare cash can...

post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!

  1. Which is a better environment for children, the city or the countryside? Why do you think so?
  2. Which is a better environment for adults, the city of the countryside? Why do you think so?
  3. If you had grown up in the countryside or city, how would your life have been different?
  4. Has there been a similar problem with people leaving the countryside in your country?
  5. What might be done to bring back people to the countryside? Please explain.

Google Search: Type "abandoned villages" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.


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