Chinatown stands as one of the city’s cultural treasures. But amid shifting dynamics in the neighborhood, affordable housing issues and the expansion of other Asian-American communities across the region, a group has banded together to forge a new master plan for the neighborhood — one they hope ensures its future survival and growth.
While Chinatown is historically considered a gateway for new immigrants and a hub for the region’s Asian-Americans, satellite communities have grown in areas such as Malden and Quincy. Advocates say it’s critical to make the densely-populated neighborhood more attractive by increasing housing options and mixed-use development, promoting cultural significance and creating more gardens and cleaner streets.
“We want to make Chinatown a sustainable and vibrant community for the future,” said Kye Liang, the project coordinator with the Chinatown Gateway Coalition. “We want to preserve existing residents and create opportunities for people of all incomes and backgrounds.”
Due to Chinatown’s older buildings, few green spaces and location between two major highways, Sherry Dong, a community health director at Tufts Medical Center, has also led a push to include stronger outreach to residents about any corresponding health risks that exist there such as air quality and asthma.
“We’re looking at how to ensure the economic, cultural, social, spiritual well-being of the community,” Dong said.