Night-time view of the outlying city area

This night-time view of the outlying city centre was probably taken from Pearl’s Hill. The low-rise flats (right centre) were likely situated in the Bukit Ho Swee public housing estate, once a crowded squatter’s village that was the scene of a large fire in 1961. Following the blaze, the government acquired the land around the area to build 12,000 low-cost HDB flats for those made homeless by the tragedy. Another fire in 1968 destroyed the remaining squatter huts and the whole area was subsequently redeveloped into a public housing estate.In 1965, the Housing and Development Board (HDB) announced a five-year urban renewal plan to rejuvenate the old city centre. Renewal of the city centre was urgently needed as the area was undergoing decay due to poor traffic flow, overcrowding, lack of amenities and inefficient land usage. The renewal plan involved the redevelopment of dilapidated two-storey shophouses, the construction of new multi-storey structures, and the paving of wider roads. In 1966, the Urban Renewal Department was formed within HDB to manage the various redevelopment projects. By the late 1960s, the rebuilding of the city centre was in full swing. A separate government body, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, was formed in 1974 to take over the planning and management of redevelopment projects in the city area.