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A Community Reborn

Audrey Lau

David Watts

March 2021

Located in Los Angeles County and bounded by the 110, the 101, and the 5 highway, Chinatown is an icon to one of the earliest cultural and ethnic communities in Los Angeles. Since the 1960s, Chinatown has expanded demographically and economically, becoming a mecca for Chinese food, culture, and entertainment. It remains an ethnic enclave for Asians and a crucial foundation for many first-generation immigrants. However, the current emergence of gentrification and the arrival of the bohemian arts scene brings a new population of middle-to-upper class professionals and artists to compete with the established working and low-to-middle class Chinese American population. Ultimately, the result is the displacement of low income, working-class residents and local businesses.

A Community Reborn envisions a Chinatown illuminated by its cultural values and identity, fostering unity between new and existing members of the community. The project aims to mitigate the encouragement of ongoing displacement through the establishment of a financial co-op that builds community capacity and listens and accommodates to the needs of Chinatown’s impacted residents.



Last year, I came across an article titled “Ai Hoa Market will close after 30 years in Chinatown.” The article was released back in 2019. The truth is, I was far from understanding what was happening to the community that I grew up spending my weekends in. I was far from Chinatown, physically and mentally, my childhood memories of going to Ai Hoa Market faded when I moved out. Overwhelmed by nostalgia and melancholy as I walked through what was once a busy street in Chinatown, I thought, as an aspiring landscape architect, where can my role come into play?

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