Lasnamägi limestone cliff has a historical importance for the city of Tallinn as much of the medieval old town was built using limestone from the quarries in this area. The limestone was also used to pave roads and burn lime. The development into the biggest housing area of Tallinn started during the Second World War when the first soviet housing programs were started in the south-western part of Lasnamägi.
Thanks to its natural situation the Lasnamägi area is visible far and it is the largest and most populous district of Tallinn. It covers an area of more than 28 square kilometers and has more than 115 000 inhabitants. With its unproportional size, prefabricated housing, and poor infrastructure it is an example of Soviet town planning. First attempts of using prefabricated housing in the Lasnamägi area took place already in 1960s but the real work started in the end of 1970s according to the general plan compiled in 1970-1976. This was preceded by a design competition in 1969 – the authors of the two best proposals were united to be the leading design team. The original design was meant to provide housing for more than 180000 inhabitants. By the end of the Soviet Era more than 650 housing units had been built.
The general plan consisted of 11 micro districts with 12,000 to 18,000 inhabitants that were connected to each other and to the city center by two east-west highways. These were cut into the limestone rock with the intention of separating the traffic and noise from the resto of the environment. Only one of them was partially completed. All the services were meant to be in separately developed center in every micro district. Schools and kindergartens are situated in the green belts or communal zones between the micro districts.
For the apartment buildings the 9-storied standardized project 111-121 and its derivates were used. In some cases, for instance near the service centers even higher standardized designs were used. For the centers themselves exclusive projects were used. As the area is situated on a limestone cliff with almost now vegetation the apartment blocks had to be situated into horseshoe shape to create wind protection.
Since 1990s the building work has continued, but now it is led by private real estate developments. Several interesting modern projects can be found in the area – e.g., the Tondiraba Ice Arena, Lasnamägi Sports Hall, the new orthodox church, KUMU art museum and the municipal housing projects on the Alveri/Loopealse streets.