It all began with Wedding Card Street. The once busy and prosperous Lee Tung Street in Wan Chai crammed with small, bustling shops is now a deserted alley. A three-year effort by residents, shop owners, architects, town planners, social workers and cultural critics failed to save the street from destruction as part of an Urban Renewal Authority redevelopment project. But the impact of the struggle has proven to be long-lasting. It provided the impetus for a new civic activism aimed at halting the relentless demolition of Hong Kong's cityscape and at preserving the openness and approachable characteristics of post-war public space. 'I wouldn't be at the Star Ferry pier if it hadn't been for Wedding Card Street. It gave me a solid foundation. My participation in the Star Ferry is a continuation of my concern for Hong Kong's cultural development and the problems caused by the development model. Both issues are about the living style of ordinary people and conservation of public space,' said Chan King-fai. The 24-year-old activist was one of the last three protesters removed from the Star Ferry pier demolition site on December 13. The two-hour removal exercise, which began shortly after 3pm, ended in a standoff between police and conservationists after two dozen people entered the site the previous afternoon to stop construction workers from dismantling the pier. A first-year cultural studies student at Lingnan University, Mr Chan joined the Wedding Card Street campaign about two years ago, shortly after he found a job in Wan Chai. 'I started paying attention to the redevelopment of old streets, how it destroyed the existing living style that allows small businesses to prosper and low income people to live, shop and run their business in the city centre.' Many activists, such as Chu Hoi-dick, one of the hunger strikers who protested against the pier's demolition, also had a role in the Wedding Card Street campaign. Mr Chu is a freelance writer and a member of In Media, a news website which has written extensively on the Wedding Card Street redevelopment and other redevelopment projects in Sham Shui Po and Kwun Tong. Video Power, formed by a group of independent video artists, also participated in the campaign to save Wedding Card Street, documenting the residents' and shop owners' activities. 'Protecting the Star Ferry pier building and the Queen's Pier is not just about the two structures; it is about protecting our public space. These public spaces are rooted in our history,' Mr Chu said.