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Chinatown revitalization: In depth

The Vancouver Chinatown revitalization committee was formed in 2001. The purpose of the committee is to encourage the community and the City to work together to develop short term and long term strategies.

Some key milestones since 2001 include:

  • In 2002 the Chinatown Vision was adopted by Council as a blueprint for Chinatown's revitalization
  • In March 2004 City staff developed a five step plan Chinatown community plan that encourages private sector investment to improve conditions for those who live, work, and visit the area
  • In December 2006 a progress report was presented to Council giving an update on the status and development trends of the revitalization plan

Objectives

Development of the Chinatown economic revitalization strategy is underway. The objectives guiding the work are:

  • Identify short term economic revitalization actions, with a focus on business attraction, retention, and expansion
  • Support the work of existing business organizations in promoting Chinatown
  • Engage the community in the development and implementation of the plan
  • Generate a sense of excitement to help market Chinatown to customers and investors

Chinatown revitalization area

We plan to guide development and preservation in this area of Chinatown.

Revitalization strategy

In 2010, the we started a revitalization strategy with a focus on business attraction, retention, and expansion in Chinatown. The strategy involved using the resources and expertise of the Vancouver Economic Commission, the Chinatown BIA, and the Chinatown Merchants Association.

We're currently on step three of the three-step revitalization strategy. 

Recent developments

Chinatown planning update and development policies review

On September 18, 2018, Council enacted the amendments to the Chinatown HA-1 and HA-1A Districts Schedule and Design Policies. Read them here:

On May 15, 2018, Council requested that City staff conduct further consultations, including the newly formed Chinatown Voices, regarding concerns relating to the recommended changes to the Amendments to the Chinatown HA-1 and HA-1A Districts Schedule and Design Policies. Notes from the sessions: 

May 2018

March 2018 – Staff are proposing changes to Chinatown's development policies to ensure that new buildings in Chinatown better fit the character of the area. Council is expected to refer these proposed zoning changes to a public hearing this summer. See our latest update and technical summary of the changes below in English and Chinese.

Past updates

Past projects

Documents

History of the area

In the 1880s Chinatown began to develop in False Creek around Carrall and Pender Streets. The community was established by Chinese immigrants who moved to Vancouver to work as industrial labourers. As the community grew, Chinatown became one of Vancouver's first commercial and residential districts.

In the 1950s the City considered running a highway through Chinatown. Vancouver residents wanted to preserve the area and avoid a highway. This strong negative reaction from the public convinced the City to abandon the idea.

In 1971 the provincial government designated both Gastown and Chinatown as historic districts.