Philadelphia Chinatown and Seattle Chinatown-International District (CID) were listed among America’s “11 Most Endangered Historic Places” for 2023.
On Tuesday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation released this year’s annual list, highlighting two Chinatowns in the U.S. that are actively fighting “large-scale development projects that demand they and other communities of color accept disproportionate harm in the name of progress for all.”
The annual list, which first started in 1988, relies on nominations from the general public. The National Trust spotlights the connections between people and history and hopes to draw attention to historic places in danger of disappearance.
This year we highlight two such communities—Seattle Chinatown-International District and Philadelphia Chinatown—where residents, businesses, and other supporters are demanding that decision-makers center their voices, illuminating more equitable paths forward for these irreplaceable neighborhoods.
Philadelphia Chinatown annually welcomes thousands of visitors to its businesses, institutions and cultural events.
Describing the area as “one of the oldest remaining active Chinatowns in the U.S.,” the organization noted that Philadelphia Chinatown has been “a gateway and sanctuary for working class Asian immigrants since 1871.”
While the community is home to more than 40 locally designated landmarks and a vibrant community of Asian American businesses and residents, the area is currently threatened by the proposed 76ers arena at 10th and Market Streets in Fashion District Philadelphia.
The $1.3 billion-arena is being met by strong opposition from the Chinatown community, who cite concerns from limited parking and traffic congestion to gentrification, displacement and the loss of Chinese culture in the area.
CID, which is one of the oldest Asian American neighborhoods on the West Coast, also made it to the list due to several plans for transit expansion that may impact the community’s cultural preservation.
It is reportedly the only area in the continental U.S. where Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Vietnamese and African Americans settled together to build one neighborhood, according to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.
The National Trust notes that advocates are fighting for “a more transparent, equitable process that reflects careful decision-making and centers the voices of the CID” when it comes to constructions in the neighborhood.
The full list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Places for 2023 can be read here.