As I entered Chinatown, it felt divided from the rest of the neighboring neighbors like Gastown and Strathcona. As Strathcona is becoming less affordable as it was before, Chinatown is also becoming less sustainable. However, the difference I noticed as I entered Chinatown was the decrease in the amount of trash and homelessness. Perhaps it is because we were near the Sun Yat Sen Garden, the inner parts of Chinatown looks much nicer than the streets on the side of East Hasting.
Then we met David Yurkovish, the landscape planner of the the False Creek area. He explained to us the use of the green biking lane and the plants that were used to separate the bike lanes from cars. Although the addition of infiltration systems and storm drains decreased the number of parking spaces available, the infiltration systems provided a sense of safety for bikers and pedestrians. Yurkovish also explained the downfall of the storm drains. While it is suppose to let water drain through and into the tree roots, dirt and mud have clogged it. Despite the failure of the storm drains, that part of Chinatown became cleaner and more sustainable.
After meeting with the Mr Yurkovish, we went on a Chinatown Walking Tour with on of the tour guides. The Tour guide was very detailed in explaining the historical context of each site we walked through. One of the significant sites we walked passed was the Shanghai Alley. Housing more than a 1000 people and a bustling alley with many businesses, the Shanghai Alleyway was where most Chinese people would go for their eight hour rented bed and do their laundries. It was, until a group of angry, drunk white mob decided to trash the place down. Despite the damage that was done to the town, Chinatown rebuilt itself.
Then we met the urban planners of Chinatown, Helen and Wesley. They presented to us the statistical data of their work and the way Chinatown changed over the years. Urban planning really shaped the current Chinatown’s identity. The buildings, shops and historical sites of Chinatown requires people to carefully map out the cause effects of each and every building that has been built and see why they should establish a new building. As of now, the Chinatown we know is covered with many vacant store fronts, new emerging condos, and a mixed population, usually the people with lower income.