A drawing of Wentworth Alleyway (Artist: Yuhan Du)

San Francisco’s Chinatown — the oldest and largest Chinatown in North America — is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, receiving more tourists annually than the Golden Gate Bridge. It is also the most densely populated neighborhood west of Manhattan. Everyday, Chinatown’s streets are swarmed with sightseeing tourists and local residents alike. This contrast may seem like an absurd one today, but it is no comparison to the early years of the place in the late 1800s, when Chinatown was a ghetto secluded from the rest of San Francisco. After the devastating earthquake of 1906, the neighborhood reinvented itself with oriental architecture and ornamentation and was saved from displacement by the city. It would take years for Chinatown to learn to grow as a part of San Francisco and its residents live in harmony. Chinatown’s existence is one of mixed experiences and is reflected in the ways it is lived in by its residents. This thesis will examine three types of lived space in order to understand Chinatown’s relationship with its residents.​​​​​​​

Photo of a woman in Wentworth Alleyway (Photography by Yuhan Du) 

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