The government has announced the final details of the long-awaited Kai Tak development plan, and combined with redevelopment projects in Kwun Tong and Ngau Tau Kok, the entire East Kowloon area is set to undergo a massive facelift. While it can’t be denied that the area is increasingly dilapidated and would benefit greatly from a spot of rejuvenation, it must be asked: are the government’s plans in danger of eroding the neighborhood’s unique characteristics? As it currently stands, East Kowloon is a curious combination of traditional Hong Kong culture and frantic development. Kowloon City is a rare, low-rise residential area, largely because of height restrictions imposed by the now deserted Kai Tak airport. It is also home to Nga Tsin Wai Village, the last walled village in Kowloon. A mere 15 minutes away is Kwun Tong, where in spite of the district’s exponentially growing population cramming into new commercial buildings such as APM and Millennium City, the center remains made up of a cluster of old building and street markets, where traditional businesses such as dai pai dongs and live snake shops flourish. So what lies ahead for East Kowloon? We examine the two major plans that are set to reshape the area. Interviews by Winnie Chau. Photos by Kay Yuen.