Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Concerns over signs of gentrification in Chinatown

Concerns over signs of gentrification in Chinatown

Posted: Jul 30, 2015 11:14 PM PDT
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco Chinatown has long been the hub for Chinese immigrants as both a place to live and work.
But now, some say signs of gentrification and the tech boom are threatening to drive longtime residents out of their homes.
The historical neighborhood is place where culture and history are on full display. There is what's called the Chinatown Area Plan in place to protect that identity.
But the area is facing new challenges, including rising rents, empty storefronts and evictions of low income tenants. "What we're seeing is some early red flags," said Cindy Wu, deputy director with the Chinatown Community Development Center.

Red flags - which some community leaders say include longtime businesses like the Empress of China Restaurant shutting down, and single room occupancy hotels being used for more lucrative short term rentals.
"They're charging up to $150 a night where we used to see SRO's going for $600 a month. If you can get $150 a night, what are you up against?" said Wu.
Speaking in Cantonese, an older Chinese woman shared with KTVU a notice she says she received Thursday. The notice informed her that the building, where she and other low income tenants live, is now being sold.
Tenants say many people have lived in the building anywhere from 8 years to 30 years.
On Thursday night, they headed to a community meeting worried about being evicted in favor of higher paying tenants.
They pay about $500 a month for a single room.

"Chinatown is dying, that is what I feel," said tenant Joe Leung.
To keep Chinatown from dying, some say 25-year-old Jenny Chan, co-founder of 1920C, is the new blood needed. The company offers work space, Wi-Fi and other services for a membership fee.
Chan says the space was once a restaurant where she ate dim sum growing up in the city. "I live really close by. That's why I really wanted a community oriented space," said Chan.  
But critics say the building is not zoned for the type of business Chan is running and that it violates the Chinatown Area Plan.
"I feel hurt as a community member," said Chan.

"We really want to protect Chinatown as an immigrant gateway for immigrants but also for low income people who need a place that's affordable in the city," said Wu.

The space Chan is in was vacant for 8 years before she opened her business.
She expects a decision from the zoning department sometime in the coming weeks.


  1. "...The historical neighborhood is place where culture and history are on full display. There is what's called the Chinatown Area Plan in place to protect that identity...."

    The culture White Man created is under assault all across the nation and the Western world. Could you point out the articles you surely have written describing what should be done to protect your culture, history, and identity? FYI Marinwood was built by White men. Odd how you fail to acknowledge that FACT. Afraid to acknowledge and protect White identity is what will destroy Marinwood and the rest of this nation.

    I know, race is just a social construct if you are White , but exists as in CHINATOWN when you are Asian. That identity needs to be protected. How about your own?

    Love for your own people is natural, just like the Asians in Chinatown gather near their OWN people.

  2. I disagree with your idea of "racial determination" or "race superiority". The pigment of one's skin says nothing about an individual. Why don't we look at peoples haircolor or eyes and make a similar determination? Cultural is a more important indicator of community values but it is not race specific and it is malleable. People embrace and reject culture all the time and it has nothing to do with peoples physical characteristics. I strongly disagree with the notion of "White Culture" for the same reasons I reject the notion of "Black Culture". Who exactly do you refer to? "Northern Europeans?" "Eastern Europe" "Dutch Afrikanners"? People are people. I think all communities deserve to be protected from the social engineers who pretend to know better and will end up displacing communities that have taken generations to create. Diversity is already happening naturally. Civilization advances. This is a good thing.

  3. I wrote nothing about superiority. Why do you feel compelled to imply that I did? I simply made a statement of fact. The culture created by White men is the reason why so many non-Whites choose to come to White nations. They cannot create in their nations what the White man creates in his. Simple statement of fact. If that was not true, White nations would not be the destination for ALL non-Whites from ALL other cultures.

    People gather based on their similarities, not differences. And race, even though you choose to pretend it indicates nothing, is absolutely a determining indicator of what kind of culture will be created. Stop pretending cultures have nothing to do with the identity of the people who create them. Chinatown is a perfect example of that. Just as the dominant race in Oakland indicates the culture you will experience. Or as history proves, flee from.

    Kids sit with kids who look like them in school. That is a fact. They pick their own people to sit with. No amount of pretending will alter the instinctual desire to be with people who look like yourself.

    Black people certainly believe they have a distinct culture, just as the Asians do in Chinatown whose "identity" you seek to save, so why do you deny your own White culture and pretend it doesn't exist?

    There is a distinct difference between the culture created in a majority White neighborhood and the culture one will find in a majority Black neighborhood.

  4. So according to you a person from Denmark, an Africanner, an Italian, a Frenchman, a Ukrainian all belong to the same culture because their skin tone is within an acceptable range of white? That doesn't make sense. These cultures are very different. Culture like language is learned not innate. People can learn any language or culture by accident of birth or by adoption. America is prove that birthright is not a given.