January 23, 2012

Nation's Chinatowns are fading, professor says

Posted: January 23, 2012
Professor Wei Li in Mesa, Arizona's Mekong Market
ASU Professor Wei Li, at Mekong Market in suburban Mesa, Arizona.
Photo by: Laura Segall

In major cities across the United States, from San Francisco and Los Angeles to New York and Washington, D.C., historical Chinatowns are fading as middle class immigrants seek affordable housing, better schools, high-tech jobs and other aspects of "the American Dream" offered in suburban areas.

“The traditional Chinatown is changing, and in most cities it is no longer the residential, political and cultural center of Asian-American life that it once was,” said Wei Li, a professor in Arizona State University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, in an Associated Press story that appeared in the Washington Post and on NPR's news site in the days leading up to the celebration of the Lunar New Year, Jan. 23.

Li, who is professor of Asian Pacific American studies in the School of Social Transformation and professor of geography in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning, also chairs the U.S. Census Bureau's advisory committee on the Asian population. Her groundbreaking work on "ethnoburbs" is illuminating understanding of new forms of ethnic-majority communities in U.S. suburbs.

In addition to appearing in the Washington Post, the story was picked up on NPR.org, by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Chinese language sites Worldjournal.com and Chineseworld.com.

American Public Media also featured Professor Li in a January 23 "Marketplace Morning Report" segment titled "U.S. Chinatowns lose residents to suburbs" (listen to the podcast or read the transcript)

Article source:
Washington Post

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