Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels
by Marie Rose Wong
Seattle's Chinatown-International District is a one-of-a-kind site of Asian American history. Growing from a single Chinese immigrant in the 1850 and 1860 Washington Territory Census to a bustling center of culture and activism, the C-ID is perhaps the only enclave in the US where different Asian immigrant groups have grown side-by-side without distinct boundaries. The intermingling was a response to both discriminatory policies and the brick-and-mortar architecture of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels.
The book includes a treasure trove of archival images, a series of original maps showing neighborhood change, and interviews with longtime C-ID residents. Wong's architecture and urban planning backgrounds never fail to find their anchor with the emotional realities of the people. Prophetically, this book comes at a time when C-ID residents are rallying around the anti-gentrification #humbowsnothotels campaign. Wong is hopeful that this book can provide a foundation for Asian American activists as well as cities across the country and the world looking for more just ways to increase urban density.
Marie Rose Wong is an associate professor of urban planning and Asian American history and community development in the Institute of Public Service at Seattle University.