Chinatown Future Histories

children at play, philadelphia chinatown


In recent years, public space advocates and park conservationists have become increasingly vocal about the need for “park equity,” or the idea that all residents should have reasonably equal access to quality park space. Much of the emphasis on park equity focuses on access, funding, and the degree to which residents perceive public space to be welcoming and inclusive. Without  a critical analysis of power dynamics in the decision­-making process and how differing visions and concerns are considered, conversations about parks perpetuate and sometimes accelerate historic structural inequities in low-income communities of color. These dynamics can be observed in this case study of Philadelphia Chinatown and the Rail Park, an ambitious adaptive reuse project which recently completed its $11 million first phase of construction. This report offers guidance for the broader field of community development practitioners and planners working in gentrifying neighborhoods on this critical question: How can public spaces contribute to equitable development?

Download the report, the summary, and translated summary in Chinese.