Seattle’s Chinatown-International District and Philadelphia’s Chinatown were on the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s endangered historic places list this year. They were two of 11 places named.
According to NPR, the has created the lists since 1988 to bring awareness to historic places that are in danger of being torn down or irreparably damaged.
“The most endangered historic places list looks like America,” Katherine Malone-France, the Chief Preservation Officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation told NPR. “It tells our layered and interconnected stories. Each site on it, of course, is a powerful place in its own right. But I think there are also common themes, like creativity and entrepreneurship, perseverance, cultural exchange.”
This is the first year that the state of Washington has had a site included in the list, KING 5 reports. Recently residents of the Chinatown-International District and its allies have become concerned about public safety and aging infrastructure. There has also been tension over a proposed transit expansion in the area.
“The Seattle Chinatown-International District is an extraordinary place of cultural exchange and resiliency. It has rallied to protect its unique cultural identity from large-scale development before, and the community is joining forces once again to urge decision-makers to follow a more transparent, equitable process for transit development in the neighborhood,” Malone-France told KING 5.
Philadelphia also has one of the oldest remaining Chinatowns, dating back to 1871. The National Trust said it was placed on the list because of the plans to build a 76ers arena in the area.
“Chinatown remains a vibrant community of Asian American businesses, community organizations, and residents,” the trust said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “A long history of land-use planning decisions has scarred Philadelphia Chinatown and resulted in large-scale development that have already claimed more than a quarter of its land.”
AsAmNews is published by the non-profit, Asian American Media Inc. Please consider making a donation and following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok. Information about interning, joining the staff or volunteering is here. We are supported by a grant from the California Library Commission and its Stop the Hate program. You can find more resources here.
All Chinatowns in the USA are endangered. These historical areas are often seen as easy available development space or place to leave society’s problems. Its residents and the culture are treated as irrelevant. People with power keep trying to put in jails, homeless shelters, stadiums, highways, casinos, etc. in or around Chinatowns. It is an extension of Anti-Asian hate. Time to protect and build up Chinatowns not destroy them.