SAN FRANCISCO-The American Planning Association revealed the designation of San Francisco’s Chinatown as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2013. Each year during National Community Planning Month APA’s Great Places in America program names 30 exemplary neighborhoods, streets and public spaces to highlight the role planning and planners play in adding value to communities, including fostering economic growth and jobs.
APA singled out Chinatown for its historic role as a cultural capital, storied “Oriental” architecture, community activism, rebuilding after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake, and planning efforts protecting the neighborhood’s character and identity. “Our city’s historic, culturally diverse and economically thriving neighborhoods like Chinatown make San Francisco a world-class destination to live, work and visit,” says San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee.
He adds that “through San Francisco’s ‘Invest In Neighborhoods Initiative,’ we will continue to ensure this neighborhood and our commercial corridors citywide continue to succeed through dedicated and customized services for our city’s residents and visitors alike.”
According to APA chief executive officer Paul Farmer, “Chinatown is an authentic, ethnic community that has successfully maintained its cultural heritage and tourist appeal despite natural disasters, prejudice, and incompatible development proposals. Residents’ understanding and appreciation of how a neighborhood and its special qualities enhance community aesthetics and individual lifestyles has led Chinatown to evolve into a remarkable community that is unique not only in the US, but also the world.”
According to John Rahaim, planning director for the City and County of San Francisco, “We are committed to preserving the cultural heritage of Chinatown while improving the neighborhood’s physical character to best serve its 15,000 residents and the millions of tourists that visit annually.”
The nine other APA 2013 Great Neighborhoods are: Downtown Norwich, CT; Downtown Decatur, Decatur, GA; Central Street Neighborhood, Evanston, IL; Downtown Mason City, Mason City, IA; Historic Licking Riverside Neighborhood, Covington, KY; Kenwood, Minneapolis, MN; Beaufort Historic District, Beaufort, SC; West Freemason, Norfolk, VA; and Williamson-Marquette Neighborhood, Madison, WI.