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From China to Chinatown: The Evolution of Street Façades in Manhattan's Chinatown

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Abstract

Manhattan’s Chinatown was initially formed in the late 19th century due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Constantly re-shaped by the changing political, economic, and cultural contexts, the location has been renowned for its distinctive streetscape. However, its historic merit has been undervalued when considering the history of Chinese immigrants and the symbolic components of its street façades. This thesis introduces the evolution of the street façades in the Historic Core of Manhattan’s Chinatown. Based on a wide range of facts, the shifts of two key components, architectural styles and storefronts, and the factors behind their transformation are systematically studied. The thesis aims to interpret the uniqueness of this ethnic enclave and provide a reference for future preservation work. Some existing problems in current policies and practices are pointed out, and several suggestions to improve the situation are accordingly given.

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121 pages

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Date Issued

2021-08

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Keywords

Architectural Style; Manhattan’s Chinatown; Storefronts; Street Façade

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Committee Chair

Tomlan, Michael Andrew

Committee Co-Chair

Committee Member

Chusid, Jeffrey M.

Degree Discipline

City and Regional Planning

Degree Name

M.A., City and Regional Planning

Degree Level

Master of Arts

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Government Document

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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dissertation or thesis

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