• July 2002
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Chinese Community Disappointed By WTC Plans
By World Journal
July 17, 2002

As the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation unveiled six concept plans for World Trade Center site, many people applauded the plans that combine transportation development and memorials. However, many others said all six plans failed to present anything innovative or reinvent the former Word Trade Center.

But in the Chinese community, people are disappointed by the plans because Chinatown is not included in the first phase of the rebuilding.

Billie Tsien, a renowned architect and a member of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation Board, said the architectural designs of all six plans are very similar and that it takes some time, even for a professional, to determine their respective strengths.

As a member of the board, Tsien said she does not want to comment on the actual plans, but she added that she likes the two plans that propose more open space because they add energy to the site.

Paul Lee, an advisor to the development corporation, said the plans are symbolic but lack originality. Lee agreed with the idea of linking the Winter Garden and Century 21 Department Store with an underground pedestrian walkway. However, he was dissatisfied with the fact that the design does not have a directly connected path between the proposed site and Chinatown.

Park Road, Lee said, used to be the only directly connected way between the former World Trade Center site and Chinatown but has been blocked since the Sept. 11 attacks. He added that the plans obviously neglected Chinatown because Park Road was not mentioned in any of the plans.

David Chen, another advisor, said the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation tried to include everything in the six proposed plans within their limitation so a lot of compromises were made to avoid repetitiveness.

Chen added that the proposed 70-story new towers are not much different from the former 100-story towers in terms of preventing terrorist attacks but the magnitude is greatly reduced.

Tseng Chao-hsien, whose son Tseng Che lost his life while trying to save people’s lives during the Sept. 11 attacks, said she is concerned about whether the Chinese community will be included in the memorial. She hopes that her son’s story will be displayed in the memorial hall to show a positive image of Chinese immigrants.

"I hope that Tseng Che will have given his life so that the general American public recognize the contributions of Chinese people in the United States," Tseng said.

Lee Tse-kuang, another advisor, said that the proposed site for rebuilding ranges from Battery Park City to Murray Street in front of City Hall but does not include Chinatown. He added that the plans proposed to run an electric bus between Battery Park City and South Street Seaport but no one mentioned running the bus to Chinatown. He hopes to see the first phase of the rebuilding include Chinatown, Soho and Little Italy.

"I would like to see the rebuilding of lower Manhattan as an engine to revive Chinatown’s economy, but I didn’t see any of it in the plans," said Lee.

In fact, people in Chinatown are most upset about the fact that the development corporation did not include Chinatown’s interests in the plans. Despite the complaints, the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation said in a press conference yesterday that they would wait to discuss issues regarding Chinatown until phase two of the planning, and could not talk about them now.

Lee Tse-kuang said Chinatown was hurt at the same time as the World Trade Center, so they should be rebuilt at the same time. David Chen also agreed that the plans to rebuild Chinatown should be drafted along with other plans.

Translated from Chinese by Larry Tung.

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