Vancouver’s Chinatown: Rebuilding a Community’s Identity
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In the competition for space within developing cities, key cultural and social components within working class ethnic neighbourhoods are often found being transformed by outside market forces. In the newest iteration of redevelopment in Vancouver’s Chinatown, the city continues to encourage the symbolic preservation of historical aesthetics instead of addressing the struggling community living within the heritage space. As a result, the vulnerable and aging population of Chinese seniors who still remain in the neighbourhood have few economically and culturally accessible options available to them. This thesis attempts to break down the outdated interpretations of ethnic enclaves that reinforces outsider’s abilities to manipulate the built environment and cultural identities. I propose instead an alternative redevelopment method for Vancouver’s Chinatown neighbourhood that facilitates the community’s preservation through the critical analysis of our current building and heritage practices, as well as the design of new public and living spaces.