Politics of Power: The Historical Evolution of Architecture and Cultural Identity in Minority Communities

Architecture and design not only shape the built environment but can also help create and reinforce cultural identities of places and communities through the construction of historic and cultural heritage. What happens, however, in neighborhoods that have a significant presence of racial and ethnic minority populations? To what extent is the evolution of architecture and design in these neighborhoods reflective of their cultural heritage and identity? Do local planning authorities allow expressions of the ethnic culture (or cultures) in the built environment or seek to reinforce a singular hegemonic cultural identity (namely the one of the dominant culture) through planning regulations, planning codes, and design guidelines?

This project will examine these question by researching the history of the architectural styles of cities such as Alhambra, Compton, and El Monte.

Project Participant Bios

Hao Ding has completed his second year as a doctoral student. He studies issues of social equity and justice in urban design and transportation. He earned a Master’s degree in Design Studies from Harvard University during which he studied the histories of architecture and urban design of Los Angeles’ Chinese- American communities in Chinatown and several cities in the San Gabriel Valley such as Monterey Park, San Gabriel, Alhambra, and San Marino.

AnastasiaAnastasia Loukaitou-Sideris is a Professor of Urban Planning and Associate Dean at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. She has studied issues of urban design and social justice extensively. One of her previous research projects studied the physical, social and economic profiles of Latinos, Chinese, and Vietnamese ethnic commercial strips in Los Angeles.