Challenges to authenticity: Exploring the social transformations of historic Chinatowns in United States for sustainable urban development through the case of San Francisco

Xie, Shuyi (2018) Challenges to authenticity: Exploring the social transformations of historic Chinatowns in United States for sustainable urban development through the case of San Francisco. In: ICOMOS 19th General Assembly and Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", 13-14th December 2017, New Delhi, India. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract (in English)

The last decades have witnessed plentiful historic Chinatowns in the world which have been becoming more diverse communities and facing challenges to authenticity. With the introduction of authenticity and transformation on the worldwide historic Chinatowns, especially in United States, this article focuses on the one in San Francisco, which could be dated back to the 1840s, and is the largest Chinese community outside Asia, with the longest history in North America. While, as more and more different groups of population with distinct cultural background settled there, this historic settlement, in the increasingly open and super-diverse society, has raised public concern on how it could be simultaneously authentic to Chinese heritage and also a multicultural space. Moreover, gentrification has sent considerable shockwaves to this once stable ‘old world’, bringing out the climbing rent and potential population displacement. Thus, it has been deteriorating into a touristic ‘thematic park’, resulting in a decrease of its original inhabitants and habitability conditions, against the sustainable urban development. Also, considerable local traditional community functions and small business have been struggling against some contemporary living styles and accompanying new consumption patterns. Last but not the least, as an aging community it is worthwhile to underscore the role played by the youth including the incoming diverse settlers, especially involving in inheritance, nostalgia, belonging and responsibility. To conclude, this article discusses the transformation and possible future of historic Chinatown of San Francisco, when facing the above challenges to authenticity, and further explores feasible and effective strategies to retain its historic authenticity within this increasingly diversified and fast-developing society for future sustainable urban development, in order to inspire following exploration to solve the similar dilemmas in other historic settlements in the world.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Xie, Shuyi
Languages: English
Keywords: local communities; authenticity; immigration; real-estate pressure; historic quarters; sustainable development; urban areas; social transformation; United States; cultural identity; cultural background; gentrification; Tourism; Town planning; United States of America; USA
Subjects: D.URBANISM > 02. Urban planning
E.CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION > 09. Social and economic aspects of conservation
J.HERITAGE ECONOMICS > 05. Heritage and sustainable development
N.ANTHROPOLOGY > 02. Ethnography
Name of monument, town, site, museum: Chinatown, San Francisco
National Committee: ICOMOS International
ICOMOS Special Collection: Scientific Symposium (ICOMOS General Assemblies)
ICOMOS Special Collection Volume: 19th General Assembly, New Delhi, 2017
Depositing User: intern icomos
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 15:04
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 15:01
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