Shek Kip Mei was the first public housing estate development in Hong Kong built by the British colonial government in 1954. The resettlement project was an immediate response to the need for temporary relief as a result of the massive fire that destroyed the Shek Kip Mei squatter area on Christmas Eve 1953, when over 53,000 Chinese immigrants lost their makeshift homes overnight. However, it was also hailed as a new era for Government public housing programmes and the need to accommodate the rapidly growing population of the 1960's and 70's. Many Hong Kong citizens share the experience of growing up witnessing the territory's rapid transformation from a series of rural villages into the present international metropolis. Life on the Shek Kip Mei Estate can, in many ways, be interpreted as a microcosm of wider society. The estate buildings were essentially concrete bunkers lacking the basics of doors and windows, let alone the relative luxury of electricity and running water. A family of five to eight persons was crammed into a cubicle of about 120 - 200 square feet (11 - 18 square metres), with over 10 households sharing a public toilet/bathroom on the same floor... bygone days of communal living.