Urban Renewal | Chinatown Atlas
— Read on www.chinatownatlas.org/stories/urban-renewal/
I wrote this essay in 2008. Tunney Lee, M.I.T Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning, published it as the portal to the Chinatown Atlas, the CHSNE online resource he created for researchers , academicians , artists , and students . I thank Professor Tunney Lee for his endless dedication and feel great joy for having known him.
Urban Renewal destroyed vibrant, inner-city neighborhoods, wounded vulnerable, communities in their infancy, and displaced 100 immigrant families. I consider Urban Renewal and the building of a 4-lane highway cutting through Hudson Street the very first gentrification of Boston Chinatown .
At the invitation of the Chinese Historical Society of New England (CHSNE), I read this experimental piece at the annual banquet held at the Empire Garden. I feel immense gratitude for the tremendous community support from CHSNE, the Asian Community Development Corporation, the Pao Art Center, the Boston Asian American Film Festival , my family and my friends.
Hudson Street has revived through the work of ACDC , through art installations, and thoughtful planning for new housing, and the preservation of local history and neighborhood stabilization is ongoing through the work of the Chinatown Community Land Trust . Community life is returning . I feel happy and humble to be a small part of that journey home.
Top: Cynthia Yee on 1950’s Hudson Street , riding her much outgrown, trusty tricycle , nosying around for what would be material for her future work as a writer.
Bottom: Cynthia Yee and her playmate, her cousin Albert Yee, in the doorway of their rowhouse home at 116 Hudson Street.