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The Well-being of Low-income, Monolingual-Chinese Senior Residents: The Impact of Disinvestment and Gentrification in Vancouver’s Chinatown

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This study asks: how has Chinatown’s disinvestment and gentrification impacted the well-being of low-income, monolingual-Chinese senior residents? Vancouver’s Chinatown has undergone rapid neighbourhood change, yet the experiences of its marginalized residents are largely unknown. Using the City of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy as a framework for well-being, I interviewed twelve non-English speaking, low-income seniors who live in Chinatown. I found that while some revitalization projects of the 1990s added value to residents’ lives, the addition of trendy, high-end boutiques, cafes and restaurants over the last five years have negatively affected the seniors’ quality of life. Despite these harmful impacts, Chinatown continues to be an important neighbourhood for the well-being of low-income, elderly Chinese-only speaking residents. The neighbourhood’s existing social and physical infrastructure, along with culturally and linguistically appropriate services and goods require protection from gentrification to ensure vulnerable residents can thrive in the community.
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