Starting from 1950s the construction of large housing estates or `Microrayons` using prefabricated industrial building methods reflected an attempt by the Soviet government to encounter housing shortage. But not only that, the construction of such settlements was meant to urbanize larger areas in the Soviet Union.
Between 1956 and 1991, alone in Russia (RSFSR) almost 17 million apartments were built within large housing estates. In the mid-1980s about two thirds of the population in the former Soviet Union lived in cities, 85% of them in large housing estates. A `Microrayons` or micro-district was a basic planning unit in the Soviet period that consisted of residential housing blocks for 5,000 to 10,000 inhabitants, providing necessary amenities like kindergartens, schools, health care, grocery shops and a few public facilities like a cinema or library.