Rethinking Chinatown: Urbanism Mediated Through Community

The University of British Columbia’s Green College lectures series for 2004 05 focuses on Vancouver’s Chinatown, one of the city’s original communities. Beginning after World War II, and hastened by the immigration patterns of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, the residential patterns of Vancouver’s Chinese Canadian communities shifted from a single population centered on the historic Chinatown area, to polycentric populations focused around a number of urban and suburban clusters throughout the Greater Vancouver region. These developments have paralleled changes to almost all of North America’s original urban Chinatowns, and require new approaches to understand the enormous changes that have been wrought in every major city. The overall impact on North American cities is enormous, not only in terms of planning and public policy, but in the very spatial and aesthetic character of urbanism. This series brings together historians, architects, urban planners, social scientists and geographers to engage in a continuing multidisciplinary dialogue about the challenges of understanding and mediating these developments and the new forms of urban community that they create.

The following nine lectures all take place at 5:00pm in the Green College Coach House at the University of British Columbia.

September 20: Larry Beasley, Co-Director of Planning, City of Vancouver, presents Chinatown: Tomorrow’s Community by design today

October 18: Henry Yu, Department of History, UBC, presents The new Vancouver: Migration and how Chinatown has changed Canada

November 15: David Ley, Department of Geography, UBC, presents Constructing Chinatowns: Something old, something new

November 29: An Te Liu, Master of Architecture Program, University of Toronto, presents ether

January 10: Peter Lang, Texas A&M University College of Architecture at the Santa Chiara Center, Castiglion Fiorentino, Tuscany Italy, presents Chinatown is everywhere

January 31: Eduard Koegel, Department of Architecture, Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, presents Struggle with the roof: the search for a contemporary Chinese architecture in the 20th century

February 28: Xiong Gu, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC, presents Transcultural community, individual identity

March 14: Paul Ong, School of Public Policy and Social Research, UCLA, presents The political economy of San Francisco’s Chinatowns: Planning and policy for new communities

April 4: Andrew Yan, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA, presents Saving Vancouver’s Chinatown: Urban revitalization and the globalization of Vancouver

For more information, please visit, call (604) 822-8660 or e-mail