Pratt Center Research

Sustainable Community Development

The Plan for Chinatown and Surrounding Areas: Preserving Affordability and Authenticity

Report  |  May 22, 2014

Manhattan’s Chinatown and its surrounding areas are among the oldest immigrant neighborhoods in New York City, housing successive groups of immigrants from Ireland, Germany, China, Italy, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, starting in the early 1800s. These diverse immigrant neighborhoods, with their historic tenement buildings, vibrant streetscapes, and affordable housing built for low-income working class families shed important light on New York City’s past but are also a critical component in the City’s future.

Commissioned by the Chinatown Working Group, The Plan for Chinatown and Surrounding Areas: Preserving Affordability and Authenticity is both a celebration of New York City’s rich immigrant history and the contributions that waves of immigrants have made and continue to make to New York City’s economy and culture, and a strategy for preserving one of the last remaining islands of affordability in a borough that is becoming increasingly unaffordable for most New York City residents. The plan was prepared by the Pratt Center for Community Development and the The Collective for Community, Culture and the Environment. 

Completed for the Chinatown Working Group in December 2013, Pratt Center is pleased to now share this plan with our other community development partners and the general public.