Picture this: you move to a quiet neighbourhood and put up a nice bungalow.

Every morning you wake up and sit in your small porch as you watch the sun rise in the horizon, and on weekends your children join your neighbours’ to race their bicycles to your common gate and back.

Life is simple, cosy and peaceful. The neighbourhood is sparsely populated, safe and quiet; partly because the zoning laws here dictate that this is a residential area, and partly because this is a new estate that still has one or two undeveloped plots.

Picture, also, waking up one morning to watch the sun rise, only to be confronted with the ghastly sight of cranes and earthmovers massing towards one of the undeveloped 50-by-100s. You rush out to ask what is happening, whether they want to tarmac the dusty road to your fine little abode.

“No, we are not tarmacking any road,” someone breaks the news to you. “We are planting a four-story building here, and it will have 40 one- and two-bedroom units.”

“Hey, this is a residential zone!” you yell, and the contractor informs you: “Sir, your plot is a residential, ours is a commercial one. You can check with City Hall if you doubt it.”