September 19, 2005
Written by C.N.
From a demographic point of view, it is only a matter of time before any given Asian American enclave becomes too crowded. After that happens, Asian Americans will then inevitably disperse and move into new areas, creating new Asian American communities. This has happened in southern California, the New York City metro area, and now, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, is apparently starting to happen in northwest Philadelphia:
Immigration advocates have long argued that Philadelphia, a former hub for factories and foreigners, could stem its population loss by recruiting immigrants. Other cities, such as Boston, have used immigration as a strategy for urban renewal. It appears immigrants are arriving even without a plan to lure them. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last week, the foreign-born last year were 11 percent of the city population, a jump from 9 percent in 2000.
In Oxford Circle and other areas of the Northeast, cheaper housing appears to be the draw. At least four realty agencies have opened near Cottman Avenue and Roosevelt Boulevard in the last two years. The Chinese characters on their storefronts hint at marked ethnic change in the neighborhood. . . . Brokers say rowhouses that would have fetched $80,000 in early 2004 now go for double that. Almost all the buyers are Chinese-born New Yorkers. . . .
The influx has been so dramatic that nearby Solis-Cohen Elementary School converted book closets into classrooms and added two trailers in a parking lot for 250 more students – half of them new residents. “The people who’ve resided here for a long time are passing away or moving to retirement communities,” said Joseph Baum, the school’s principal. “And they are being replaced by families with children.”
The article also notes that in this case, it wasn’t just overcrowding and exorbitant housing prices that pushed many Asian Americans out of New York City — it was also the economic fallout as a result of September 11, 2001. Further, as with any form of cultural or in this case residential change, there’s bound to be some resistance, conflict, or hostility from long-term residents of the neighborhood.
We’ll have to see if history repeats itself or if a more orderly form of integration and assimilation takes place — on both sides.
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Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "New Asian American Communities" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/09/new-asian-american-communities/> ().
Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=138