For our first day on our trip, we were considerably busy. The minute we got there, we went through a maze of transit, transferring from one to another. Although we were incredibly tired from waking up early for the plane, checking into our hostel, and everything else, we still wanted to learn more about their Chinatown or to be more precise the International District. There, we were provided an amazing tour from a young tour guide from the Wing Luke Museum. He brought us from historical shops to historical figures to historical alleyways throughout the historical neighborhood.
During the tour, the one thing that, really, stood out to me was the large emphasis of Family Association in the neighborhood. These Family Association provided housing, community organizing, and many more things for the community. They were a large influence in the both the neighborhood and the city itself. They were so prominent that even the late, Dr. Sun Yat Sen came to visit in hopes of raising awareness of the Civil War back in China, but now today, they do things like provide scholarships for students, held banquets for holidays, rent tour buses for Qing Ming, and things on that scale.
Seattle’s Family Associations are very similar to ours in San Francisco. They were both very important organizations in the development of their respective neighborhoods. Like our Consolidated Benevolent Association, they both did community advocacy, help be a political body for the community, and provide help for the community itself. The International District was able to be protect itself against a series of attacks of gentrification through the Family Association, and our San Francisco Chinatown continues to preserve itself through community organizations like Chinatown Community Development Center.
The International District built-environment is very much different from San Francisco’s Chinatown. Unlike how our streets are crowded and cramped, their streets are wide and empty. Also, the alleyways of the International District is considerably underused compared to our Chinatown's alleyways. This probably is due to the neighborhood being deemed a historical neighborhood, which helped allowed the neighborhood be kept where it is and people in it, but at the same time stopped the neighborhood from improving and changing its building and infrastructure causing it to be stopped in its tracks. Making a historic neighborhood in itself is double edge sword where the neighborhood’s infrastructure can’t be improve easily without a good amount of paperwork, but at the same time it helped the neighborhood stay where it is.
Although the International District is actually a smaller neighborhood, in both population and size, compared to SF Chinatown, it and our Chinatown still went through similar problems of encroachment but through community organizing, each neighborhood survived and continues to strive. Each going on its own different path with different choices.