Princeton University Library Catalog

CHINATOWN IN TRANSITION: Ethnic Community Organizations and the Politics of Urban Redevelopment

Kaneko, Marina [Browse]
Senior thesis
Wimmer, Andreas [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Sociology [Browse]
Class year:
96 pages
Restrictions note:
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note:
The encroachment of speculative land development threatens to unravel the social fabric of Manhattan’s Chinatown as a mixed-use, affordable urban neighborhood built by generations of Chinese immigrants. Shaped by a history of political and linguistic isolation, immigrant enclaves like Chinatown often form their own community organizations to provide for the social, economic, and political needs of residents. This indicator of formal and informal organizational infrastructures—also dubbed “institutional completeness”—has facilitated the political agency of Chinatown residents and stakeholders. The present research utilizes in-depth interviews with long-term residents and community leaders to analyze several recent economic development initiatives pursued by ethnic organizations since 2002. During the implementation of these programs, there was an observed struggle between placating internal factionalism and presenting external ethnic solidarity within the dual political landscape of urban redevelopment: that is, the relationships between traditional and modern ethnic organizations, and the obstacles they face when working with the City’s political structures. In addition, the increasing institutionalization of grassroots organizations and the diversification of the neighborhood exacerbate tensions surrounding Chinatown’s future redevelopment. Finally, the growing public health burden of Chinatown’s aging population represents has positive implications for civic engagement but potential negative effects on the local commercial economy, and on home health care workers.