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Questions or comments? Contact Stephen Ostrander.

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A Community Vision Plan for Chinatown


UPDATE: View the Community Outreach Memorandum

In 1912, the Chinatown community moved from the southern edge of downtown Chicago to its present location centered at Cermak Avenue and Wentworth Road. While the neighborhood has developed its own unique sense of place over the years, from the 1928 opening of the On Leong Merchants Association Building (now known as the Pui Tak Center) to the ongoing construction of a boat house in Ping Tom Park, Chinatown has never had its own plan to guide development in ways that align with community-led priorities.

Building upon the celebration of its centennial in 2012, Chinatown's businesses, community organizations, and residents will now have the opportunity to help shape its future.

The Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community (CBCAC) and 25th Ward Alderman Daniel Solis are partnering with the CMAP's Local Technical Assistance (LTA) program to develop a comprehensive community vision plan for Chinatown. The Chinatown Community Vision Plan will:

  • Define the community's vision for the future of Chinatown.
  • Pinpoint the issues and opportunities that need to be addressed to achieve that vision.
  • Identify short- and long-term strategies to achieve the community's future vision for Chinatown.

The community planning process will identify and address Chinatown's existing challenges and future opportunities, seeking to build upon assets to help the community reach its full potential. An important interim product of the community vision plan is the "existing conditions and opportunities report," a comprehensive analysis of Chinatown which integrates the information gathered through research by CMAP staff and the first phase of community engagement. CMAP will then draft the community vision plan, identifying short- and long-term strategies that address the issues and opportunities identified by the community to achieve its vision for the future of Chinatown. Residents and stakeholders will be given the opportunity to thoroughly review the existing conditions report and draft plan and provide feedback on its recommendations, including through community-wide meetings.

The community vision plan will provide a framework in which decisions affecting the future of Chinatown can be made with some certainty that today's choices—whether large or small—contribute to achieving the long-term goals and vision of the community.

Planning Study Area

The boundaries of the planning study area for the community vision plan will be 18th Street to the north, the Stevenson Expressway to the south, Clark Street to the east, and the Chicago River to the west.

Recommendations tied to place will fall within this planning study area. However, the planning process and community vision plan will study the neighborhood and make recommendations for the planning study area, within the context of what has been called the "Greater Chinatown Community Area." This reflects the fact that many persons whom are integral to Chinatown and the Chinese American community live outside of the planning study area.

Public Engagement

Public engagement—particularly for traditionally underrepresented populations—is an important element of a sound and comprehensive planning process. To give Chinatown residents and stakeholders a voice in the development of community's vision plan, the project employed various different outreach tools and methods to better understand and address the needs of the community as a whole.

Download the Community Outreach Memorandum which highlights the outreach efforts undertaken throughout the planning process and presents key findings of existing issues, challenges, and opportunties in Chinatown gathered from various public engagement tools and strategies. 



Sophie Chong, CBCAC ( 張小姐) Public Affairs Consultant (sophie_chong@caslservice.org or 312-208-6464)

Stephen Ostrander, CMAP Senior Planner (sostrander@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8696)

Berenice Vallecillos, CMAP Outreach & Engagement Specialist (bvallecillos@cmap.illinois.gov or 312-386-8623)

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