Blueprint Unveiled for Chinatown Development
From The World Journal
April 17, 2004

Asian Americans for Equality released yesterday the blueprint for Rebuild Chinatown Initiative II. One of its designers, Robert Weber, the association’s director of policy, said East Broadway has become another booming area in Chinatown, but that it is not up to its potential. Weber called for development of East Broadway to revitalize Chinatown.

The initiative includes a series of proposals, such as building more commercial, residential, entertainment and recreation facilities. It also calls for turning the neighborhood into “America’s Chinatown”: a revitalized cultural and tourist boomtown, which is connected to the waterfront and the Financial District and has financial, manufacturing, fashion and commercial functions.

Weber said yesterday the initiative has three goals. The first is to promote cultural and commercial exchange between the East and the West by creating a shopping center that attracts customers with quality goods and services. A special cultural zone will also be built, offering performing and visual arts. The Chinese American Museum will be expanded, and a Pacific Ring Office District will be created, complete with restaurants, office buildings and department stores.

The second goal is to connect Chinatown with the Financial District and the East River waterfront, and turn the area between the Brooklyn Bridge and East River Park into boulevards with new piers. The initiative calls for stronger ties with Lower Manhattan in terms of pedestrian traffic, rapid transit and commerce. One of the proposals involves reconnecting Bowery Street and Water Street so that people can go from Chinatown directly to Lower Manhattan. Another proposal calls for redesigning Pearl Street and Chatham Square into public meeting venues.

The third goal is to keep property prices stable and maintain Chinatown’s ethnic diversity. creating a healthy real-estate market for people of different income levels and ensuring the safety and cleanliness of the neighborhood.

The initiative will be completed in the next 10 years, said Christopher Kui, executive director of Asian Americans for Equality. By then, Chinatown will have become the commercial, art, catering, fashion and tourism center for Chinese-Americans across the country.

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Translated from Chinese by Shasha Dai.

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