US Chi­na­towns face pric­ing pres­sure

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICAS - By NIU YUE in New York

Chi­na­towns in var­i­ous US cities are be­com­ing gen­tri­fied, with more Chi­nese im­mi­grants mov­ing out of the in­creas­ingly pricey res­i­den­tial zones, ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued by the Asian Amer­i­can Bar As­so­ci­a­tion of New York (AABANY).

More than 3,000 Chi­nese res­i­dents once lived in Wash­ing­ton’s Chi­na­town, but that num­ber has shrunk to ap­prox­i­mately 300 and is ex­pected to fall to 150 in the next few years, ac­cord­ing to AABANY.

Chi­na­towns in other US cities also face sim­i­lar dilem­mas. Sta­tis­tics showed that the white pop­u­la­tion in Chi­na­towns dou­bled in the first decade of the 21st cen­tury.

Kwong Chi­choong, pro­fes­sor of ur­ban af­fairs and plan­ning at Hunter Col­lege in New York, said that only three of the top 15 Chi­na­towns in the US still func­tion as Chi­nese res­i­den­tial and work­ing zones.

“As long as the Chi­na­town is get­ting gen­tri­fied fur­ther and the rents con­tinue ris­ing, most of the re­main­ing Chi­nese res­i­dents will have to move out,” Kwong said. “Pes­simisti­cally speak­ing, Chi­na­town could be­come a tourist spot in the fu­ture.”

Emma Deng, a res­i­dent of Wash­ing­ton’s Chi­na­town who im­mi­grated from the Chi­nese main­land in the late 1990s, said that she chose to live in Chi­na­town so that she could live in a more tra­di­tional Chi­nese way.

“When I first set­tled in DC, there were more gro­cery stores, tra­di­tional Chi­nese dim sum restau­rants and even more home­like shops, but now most have gone,” she said.

Near the paifang (arch) at the en­trance to the US cap­i­tal’s Chi­na­town are nu­mer­ous nonChi­nese busi­nesses such as Star­bucks and Hoot­ers.

“Af­ter the arena and the Metro sta­tion were opened, the fast­food chains moved in, and the neigh­bor­hood died away, or at least to the sub­urbs of DC,” said Jim Gor­don, a lo­cal res­i­dent who has lived in the area some four decades.

Long Yi­fan in New York con­trib­uted to this story.

The Friend­ship Arch­way in Wash­ing­ton DC’s Chi­na­town in 2013.

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