A Caltech Library Service

Who’s Chinatown, Whose Chinatown? Visions of Urban Progress in Los Angeles Chinatown, 1970-2020


Jiang, Abigail Yuan-Shan (2023) Who’s Chinatown, Whose Chinatown? Visions of Urban Progress in Los Angeles Chinatown, 1970-2020. Senior thesis (Major), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/94nx-2495.


This thesis explores the dynamics of urban development in Los Angeles (LA) Chinatown since the 1970s until present day. The historical narrative is driven by broad demographic shifts across LA County, alongside municipal and community politics that shape the material and cultural demands behind neighborhood change. Through this narrative, I challenge the traditional framings of resident versus business interests in Chinatowns, and instead highlight the complicated and often competing visions of progress throughout the community. I argue that “the youths” and “the elders” serve as key figures in this history: first, as dynamic actors and activists directly engaged in the process of development, and second, as subjects of discourse that actors mobilize towards different goals of development. Finally, I illuminate tensions between organizing as a representative of a community and organizing in solidarity towards the tangible needs of a community.

Item Type:Thesis (Senior thesis (Major))
Subject Keywords:History, Urban Studies, US History, 20th century, Asian American Studies
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Engineering and Applied Science
Humanities and Social Sciences
Major Option:History
Materials Science
Awards:Senior Undergraduate Thesis Prize, 2023. Frederic W. Hinrichs, Jr., Memorial Award, 2023. Patrick Hummel and Harry Gray Travel Fund, 2023. Eleanor Searle Prize in Law, Politics, and Institutions, 2022. Robert L. Noland Leadership Award, 2022. Dr. James King Jr. Student Diversity Award, 2021.
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Dykstra, Maura
Group:Senior Undergraduate Thesis Prize
Thesis Committee:
  • Wiggins, Danielle L. (chair)
Defense Date:2023
Non-Caltech Author Email:abigailyjiang (AT)
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:06202023-215355092
Persistent URL:
Jiang, Abigail Yuan-Shan0000-0001-8003-8380
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:16125
Deposited By: Abigail Jiang
Deposited On:22 Jun 2023 00:00
Last Modified:22 Jun 2023 16:15

Thesis Files

[img] PDF - Final Version
See Usage Policy.


Repository Staff Only: item control page