Immigration and gentrification in New York City (completed)

Weishan Huang

The aim of this project is to demonstrate how culture and economics intertwine in urban re-structuring before and after the 1990 recession in New York City by using the case study of Flushing, Queens. My research will bring in a cultural perspective to contribute to the understanding of gentrification as economic, social and cultural restructuring under the impact of international immigration. First, this case of neighbourhood transfiguration was unconventionally triggered by a private immigrant developer whose successes were initially based on Taiwanese Americans’ residential and housing preference in the 1980s and 1990s. Ethnic residential preference and cultural tastes continually serve cultural factors which accelerated gentrification during the early 1990s recession. According to our GIS study, the residential pattern of Asian immigrants in New York has also supported the evidence of persistent concentration of migrant enclaves since the 1980s. Secondly, there has been diversification in Flushing since the 1980s, which is different from the kind of gentrification which creates a social, economic, and racial hegemony in a neighbourhood. The diversification of races and ethnicities in this neighbourhood has increased since the 1980s through the contribution of post-1965 and later post-Cold War immigrants, especially the settlement of Asian immigrants. I argue that we need to distinguish between gentrification that creates homogenous racial or ethnic communities that push immigrants out, and this new form of super-diverse gentrification, based on a transnational flow of capital that fosters diversity and uses diversity as a form of investment capital.

Go to Editor View