Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

What is ¨ethnoburb¨?

Whoever has lived in California long enough, will associate immediately some cities to ethnic groups, I´m not only talking about population, but food, advertising and so on. Sometimes I feel in Santa Ana like being in Mexico, or Westminster like being in Vietnam.... Here is an excerpt from the article by Timothy Egan, at The New York Times: ¨The rise of ethnoburbs¨:
The new narrative comes from the ethnoburbs, a term coined in a 2009 book by Arizona State University professor Wei Li to describe entire cities dominated by a nonwhite ethnic group. They are suburban in look, but urban in political, culinary and educational values, attracting immigrants with advanced degrees and ready business skills.
Monterey Park, just to the south of here, is considered the first suburban Chinatown. And with 61,571 people, it’s much more than a “town.” Now there are eight Asian-dominated ethnoburbs sprawling through a 25-mile stretch of the San Gabriel Valley. Here, you’ll find one of the largest Buddhist temples in the hemisphere, and a string of Boba drink shops, often called the Starbucks of the valley. (Boba is a drink flavored with small tapioca balls.)
Ethnoburbs are not limited to California. Bellevue, Washington, long dismissed by Seattle residents across the lake as a series of white bread cul-de-sacs and high-end malls, is now Washington State’s most diverse big city, primarily because Asians make up 27 percent of its 122,363 residents. Quincy, Mass., is going through a renaissance, driven in part by the 22 percent who are of Asian descent.
Well to the east of San Gabriel is the urban laboratory of Riverside County, the fastest growing in California, expanding by 41.7 percent in the last decade to 2.2 million people. In Riverside, where Home Depots are seeded throughout the land, whites are now a minority, at 36 percent of the population, and Latinos, with 45.5 percent, are the largest ethnic group.
Riverside County is a Latino version of Li’s smaller Asian ethnoburbs. Forget the stereotypes emanating from small-minded places like the Phoenix statehouse or any right-wing talk-radio station: In Riverside County, more than one in five businesses is Latino-owned, and median family income is well above the national average.
Read the book review:

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