Maintaining Authenticity in Ethnic Enclaves: Chinatown, Koreatown, and Thai Town, Los Angeles
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Over the past fifty years, much research on ethnic enclaves has been conducted, especially from historical, sociological and economic perspectives. However, little attention has been paid to the built environment, spatial meaning and its functions. In a global city like Los Angeles, many ethnic enclaves have emerged, both naturally and legislatively. This study investigated six internal and external factors and how they have affected the authenticity of three ethnic enclaves, Chinatown, Koreatown and Thai Town, in the context of the evolving Los Angeles. By the time immigrants are assimilated and become part of American society, they are structur- ally assimilated and the immigrants’ identity gently reconstructed. In contrast, they struggle to preserve and inherit their original national identity. The investigation revealed an irrelevance between physical expression of the ethnic enclave and spatial utilization of the immigrants. Together these findings suggest the contribution of people and places in the process of place making for an ethnic enclave. The presented findings are valuable for planning and future development of the discussed enclaves.
- Architecture