Abstract

Business Improvement Districts and Gentrification in Ethnic Enclaves: A Case Study of Los Angeles Chinatown

This literature review and project examines how business improvement districts (BIDs) contribute to the gentrification of historic urban ethnic enclaves, focusing specifically on the marketing goals of BIDs in Chinatowns. BIDs have encouraged economic development and revitalization through marketing, security and cleaning. Specifically, BIDs employ touristification, boutiquing or upscaling, and other measures that drive up the neighborhood value. While there is praise for BIDs for helping economic growth in certain areas, oftentimes the consequences of their actions have led to gentrification and forced displacement of traditional small business owners and residents, changing the character of the neighborhood. In 2020, there is an added layer of complexity in BID activities as COVID-19 has devastated many businesses in the area. A qualitative analysis will be performed on the social media of the BID working in Los Angeles' Chinatown, analyzing their posts in 2016 and 2020.

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