Monday, August 20, 2007

Amanda's Research Project



In my research project, I connected three factors of the Chinatown community: history, social issues, and the usefulness of open spaces. I did this by internet research primarily based on the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative website, an interview with Chinatown Progressive Associate member, other websites containing information on Chinatown environmental issues, and a memoir of Chinatown history called Tea that Burns. I wanted to learn more about the history of Chinatown because I felt it would benefit my understanding of Chinatown and the effect of history on present day. Chinatown has an interesting history; for example, when Chinese men first arrived many married and had children with Irish women because both were seen as an unwanted class in American culture. Many were also opium addicts. In relation to its history, Chinatown has, in many ways, remained unassimilated due to the need to survive in a community that has denied acceptance towards Chinese cultural practices.
There really has been no need to change; everything anyone needs to live is available in relation to Chinese culture. With these problems come problems with health and the environment. Obviously, Chinatown has poor sanitation and smells funny, traffic is congested, and the air is polluted. In a survey done by the CPA, “a five person household, already has at least one member with asthma.” Living conditions are extremely cramped. These are issues that can be changed through developing opening spaces such as the East River Waterfront, an area used for parking and garbage. This project incorporates different parts of Chinatown that if changed, could relieve pollution, traffic, and make use of public land. I visited the East River Waterfront. It was a long walk, the back of my shirt was filled with sweat, and everything basically looked the same. It is a desolate area that the occasional pedestrian passed by, and the constant silence was broken up by the sounds of moving cars up on the FDR. Basically, it is not a place people consider to hang out.
The East River Waterfront development will incorporate that area and the areas that directly influence it most, such as Pike Slip, Montgomery Slip, and Catherine Slip. These areas are important to connecting the Waterfront to the Chinatown area. There are plans to beautify these areas, decongest traffic, and increase parking in the project. The influence of green spaces towards decreasing pollution rates is undeniable and will positively affect the Chinatown problem with pollution. Trees cool down areas by blocking out the sun, filter pollution from traffic, soot and dirt, cleaning the air. It will benefit the community by bringing people together in an unassuming public area.

1 comment:

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