Seattle Chinatown isn’t a place, only known for having Chinese culture, but is a place known for having many Asian cultures, hence the district being named the Chinatown-International District, or the ID, which most locals would call it. The neighborhood has a diverse culture of Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Vietnamese, and many other other Asian ethnicity.
In the International District, Hing Hay Park is the local park and the gathering place for the locals. Much like our own Portsmouth Square, here in San Francisco Chinatown, it provides the same benefits. It’s an open space where many people can almost do anything they want. Seniors in Hing Hay Park do many things ranging from Tai-Chi to Chinese Checkers and to even more.
This park can be beneficial in urban planning for Chinatown’s open space because it can provide a similar park with a different type of neighborhood. We can see how the type of neighborhood shape how a park or open space is used. We know that Portsmouth Square is the “Living Room of Chinatown” because of the cramped and harsh living conditions of a single-room occupancy. Now, I want to know their parks and what possible nicknames can fit the park perfectly.
The International District is a neighborhood as old as San Francisco Chinatown and this is why both neighborhood have many community organizations to insure that their own respective neighborhood is sustainable for future generation. For example, our Chinatown has Chinatown Community Development Center (CCDC) while Seattle’s International District has Seattle Chinatown International District Preservation and Development Authority (SCIDpda). These two non-profit organization focuses on similar things like affordable housing and community engagement. Affordable Housing is important to insure that people of the community are able to stay in their community and lower possibility of the neighborhood being gentrificated. Community Engagement is essential at keeping people to continue to care about their community and help them not ignore any community issues that can affect them.
Something else that is important for sustainability is to have local businesses. San Francisco's Chinatown contains a large amount of shoppers, especially looking for cheap groceries. I hope to see how many of the locals actually shop locally and shop from what type of stores. Another thing is what type of stores are there? Are there more restaurants than groceries stores? Are there more local owned stores than privately owned stores? These two factors shaped the way the commercial aspect of Chinatown and sustainability of a neighborhood.
The main thing I want to learn during this trip is how different cities varies in their methods of urban planning. The way I want to discover the differences between San Francisco's and Seattle's is through personal observations and through conversation with the people of the community. Personal observations can be easily made from walking around the neighborhood and through conversations made with talking with these community-organizations like SCIDpda.
- David Trang