Week 8: Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Night Market Prep, Public Plaza Training

May 23, 2022

Hi everyone!

This week, I was in Chinatown to help set up for the first installment of Chinatown Nights, the night market that is hosted and planned by Think!Chinatown. I was excited about this event and there was a sign up of over a thousand people. I helped carry boxes across Chinatown (not an easy task considering how narrow the streets are and how crowded the streets are)! I even helped label and sort all the essential equipment. Unfortunately on Friday morning I learned that the event that I had been working to help organize all week was canceled because of the impending rain storm.

Also this week, I finally received my training so I can begin my Behavioral Mapping Tabulation for the Public Plaza Study. I completed my training video as well as spoke to a representative from Gehl on how to properly survey public life in an area of study. On Tuesday, May 24, I will do my first of four observations of Forsyth Plaza under the supervision of my mentor, Alice. Each observation study will be over the course of multiple hours and I will pay attention to how residents and visitors interact with this specific space in Chinatown and how people interact with the street vendors that are nearby.

Before I wrap up my blog post for this week, I wanted to share what I have learned about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Since I have worked through the two books I had planned to read and looked through the research reports I had planned to do for my project, I asked Alice about whether there were any existing government attempts in place to support the Chinatown community and its businesses that I had yet to research and learn more about.

Alice shared with me that in November, Governor Hochul announced that Chinatown would receive 20 million dollars for economic development. In the documents for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative there is a published letter from Manhattan’s Borough President Gale Brewer. She writes the “grant will enable the development of cultural anchors that will ensure that Chinatown remains a driver of our city’s tourism economy and will maintain this cultural home for the region’s future generations.” I am hopeful and excited to know that the local government has granted this money to help revitalize Chinatown. This leaves me with the question on how this money will be put to use and what are methods that can be put in use to directly help small businesses.

Thank you for reading!

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