Planning Efforts to Improve Safety and Livability of Chinatown
Working closely with our community in Chinatown, as well as citywide planning efforts, PCDC has been engaged in place-based strategies to make Chinatown a more vibrant, livable, and “transportation friendly” community.
We have been making considerable progress in implementing the goals of the 2017 Chinatown Neighborhood Plan, which will bring about improvements to Chinatown over the next eight years. With the support of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, PCDC has been working with residents and business owners since 2018 to implement the plan in three focus areas: 1) Built Environment; 2) Economic Opportunity; and 3) Community Life. Each month, our newsletter has included articles about each component of the plan. Prior to this, PCDC engaged 1,300 people to develop the neighborhood plan.
PCDC focuses our efforts in Chinatown in order to spur economic development and neighborhood revitalization. To successfully implement our revitalization strategies, PCDC participates in citywide planning, which improves the quality of all neighborhoods, but especially Chinatown. PCDC has participated in the AARP’s Livable Communities planning committee over the last several years. This month, PCDC participated in the AARP Livable Community’s Transportation Committee’s planning efforts to develop on recommendations to make Philadelphia more “age-friendly.” Age-friendly policies benefit all people because they focus on safe access for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists, and transit riders. For example, one recommendation proposes that the City speed up the repaving of potholes in the streets.
“AARP Livable Communities supports the efforts of neighborhoods to be great places for people of all ages.” AARP Pennsylvania has been “a leader in supporting safe, walkable streets, age-friendly housing and transportation options, access to services, and opportunities for residents of all ages to participate in community life.”
PCDC Executive Director John Chin provided insight during the discussions. “Improving the safety and walkability of streets in Chinatown is a crucial priority for PCDC and is essential to our neighborhood plan,” said Chin after the meeting. “Thousands of children, families, and seniors including residents, workers, and visitors walk across Chinatown’s streets and the Vine Street Expressway every day. We are dedicated to the AARP Livable Committee’s efforts to make all communities in Philadelphia more livable and safe, and we look forward to bringing these strategies back to our community in Chinatown.
Chinatown has benefited from AARP’s research, best practices, and convening of meetings on Livable Communities. In 2017, with the support of AARP’s 2017 Community Challenge grant funding, PCDC launched the “Go, Go, Go—Making Our Community More Livable” project to build relationships and improve the health of our residents in a busy urban neighborhood. We launched an initiative that encouraged residents to “Go outdoors, Go be creative, and Go make friends.” PCDC hosted seven free, professional-led Saturday art classes and seven garden club meetings, as well as one joint art and garden club meeting; created a pop-up Little Chinatown Art Gallery from the work produced in our classes; created a community garden at 810 Arch Street Francis House of Peace/Ping An House; and hosted the “Go, Go, Go Celebrate Chinatown” finale event. These events employed two local artists and drew over 150 participants, including 71 registered art class or garden club participants. Participant ages ranged from 3 to 87. The majority of participants were Chinatown residents; we also had representation from local high school and college students. 85% of participants identified as Asian American, but our group of participants represented all races and ethnicities.