The People’s Vision for Chinatown was developed by Chinatown Action Group and Chinatown Concern Group through two years of outreach with Chinatown residents, businesses, and community members. We spoke with residents who have lived in the neighbourhood for years, workers who come from as far as Prince George, and community members who take the bus to visit and run errands in Chinatown as often as every day. Through our outreach, we found that Chinatown remains the centre of a predominantly working-class Chinese community that extends across Vancouver and even the province.

The People’s Vision for Chinatown reflects all of these perspectives, but especially the perspectives of residents of Chinatown and nearby neighbourhoods. As the area becomes more desirable and property values increase, Chinatown residents – those who live within the boundaries of Chinatown as defined by the City of Vancouver – are the part of the community that is most likely to be displaced. Compared to the city and regional population, Chinatown residents are disproportionately likely to be poor, immigrant, senior, to speak a primary language that is not English, or to have not completed secondary school. This is also true for residents of nearby neighbourhoods, such as Oppenheimer and Strathcona, many of whom identify themselves as Chinatown community members and rely on Chinatown services and businesses for their everyday needs.

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Chinatown Action Group speaking with residents via the Voice of Chinatown news service, April 2017. Credit: Stephanie Fung