Historically, Chinatowns in the US have been in the heart of cities. But now, large and prosperous ones exist in suburbs – or more precisely, in what used to be suburbs. Because of ‘China-fication,’ the population in the new Chinatowns is denser than a suburb. Also, there is more commerce. What is most significant about the new Chinatowns though is that the pattern of urbanization does not form a new city: there is no center and periphery, no ‘Main Street,’ no discrete districts. Instead, it performs as a continuous, undifferentiated, mixed-use economic ‘chunk’ of urbanism. In that sense, it is similar to the highly populated areas not part of an official city that can be found throughout Asia. These ‘chunks of China’ have contributed to a distinct urbanism in the US – one that will no doubt enliven and expand into larger areas of America than their predecessors. If the first Chinese urban export was the Chinatown, now it is the Chinachunk. A good example is Flushing, New York - located outside of Manhattan.

"Chinachunks" was originally published in Urban China #23, a special issue on global Chinatowns.








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