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Beyond the GenerAsians : Intergenerational programming and Vancouver’s Chinatown Tang, Andrea

Abstract

Applying the "age" lens, this paper asks: how can intergenerational programming move the current Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization process towards a more ageintegrated and life course-oriented approach? In addition, a meta-question is: How can intergenerational programming assist diverse populations (i.e. younger and older people) collectively search for new meanings for Chinatowns in transition? The qualitative and quantitative methods used in this research include reviewing literature, primary documents, city documents, unpublished works, and conference papers. Basic demographic analyses, community interviews, and surveys were conducted. As a member of the Vancouver Chinatown Revitalization Committee and intern at the City of Vancouver, personal observations were also made between 2002 and 2004. This research adopts the Community for all Ages model to evaluate Vancouver's Chinatown revitalization process and makes recommendations that move it towards intergenerational programming - a mechanism to respond to key challenges from the "age lens": changing age demographics, the diversifying Chinese-Canadian community in Vancouver, and aging institutions in Chinatown. Challenging traditional theories of generations and assimilation, the results of this research illustrate the need for planners, policymakers, and community workers to recognize the diverse stories and experiences along the age continuum and to adopt a life-course approach in moving communities from age-segregation to age-integration. Identifying some key issues for implementation and future research, this study has implications for the application of intergenerational programming in Vancouver's Chinatown but also in other Chinatowns currently facing similar challenges.

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