Thank you KTVU, KQED, Singtao, and World Journal for covering this story! Below was the original press release with a map of vacancy stores.
For Immediate Release: Chinatown Community Expressing Needs for Revitalization
While the rest of the Bay Area seems to be prospering, Chinatown’s economy has been decaying for the last 5 years. While the median income in San Francisco is around $77,000, in Chinatown it is less than half of that at $36,000. All it takes is a quick walk through to see how worn down and dilapidated this neighborhood has become. Our research found at least 46 storefronts that were vacant or about to become vacant on the main streets of Chinatown including Stockton, Grant, Kearny, and Powell in the 1.34 sq miles radius of the neighborhood. The median age in Chinatown is 50 years old, by far the oldest in a city where the median age is only 36. Current shop-owners are retiring, and there have been only a handful of young shop owners who are currently opening stores in Chinatown. Adrian Chang, whose family owns one of the vacant storefronts will be speaking at the conference. It is imperative to revitalize the area to make sure it will survive the 21st century.
We at Treehouse Space are committed to creating an initiative to revive Chinatown while still making sure it retains its proud and beautiful Chinese American heritage. We have been holding Diversity Panels to discuss current issues that resonate with current residents. There are also monthly art shows which we partner with local artists to add to the culture scene of emerging Chinese American artists. Alfred Twu, who has held a few art shows at previously 1920C, and will hold an art show on September 9th, titled FRESH, will be speaking at the press conference. We are also working on a community initiative called Chinatown Codes, which will empower local kids by providing technological education, including Internet of Things. Given the increase of the income inequality, it is important to educate the next generation of low income minorities.
“Chinatown needs to change now. I have lived here for over 60 years. I’ve seen the golden days of Chinatown. We used to have a great nightlife, more than 6 theaters. Now we are left with a theater that is barely standing. I am excited on the life that Treehouse Space had brought back to Chinatown,” stated Richard Ow, a long time resident of Chinatown.
1.34 square miles
Biggest chinatown outside Asia
Most densely populated place in America other than Manhattan
30% of residents below the poverty threshold
Median age is 50 years old, oldest neighborhood in SF