Rebuild Chinatown Initiative: The Community Speaks

New York, New York


Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE) was founded in 1974 to advocate for the rights of Asian immigrants and others in need. AAFE has grown from a volunteer-led, grass roots, community activist group into a nationally recognized social service and community development organization. AAFE’s programs include neighborhood preservation and revitalization, tenant organizing and counseling and community organizing.

Scope of Work

Alembic Community Development assisted AAFE in the design and creation of the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative, a collaborative effort to support Chinatown following the physical and economic devastation of September 11th, 2001. The Rebuild Chinatown Initiative community planning process provided a blueprint for the preservation and revitalization of Chinatown, based on surveys of 1.800 residents, interviews with key stakeholders and a series of open community meetings. The subsequent plan outlined community goals for affordable housing, economic development, quality of life, social services, transportation, open space and other issues.


  • The development of an influential community plan, the Rebuild Chinatown Initiative: The Community Speaks, that articulates community goals and recommends concrete strategies for their implementation.
  • The creation of the Lower Manhattan Affordable Housing Trust Fund, with initial funding of $1.5 million from Freddie Mac.
  • The creation of the Chinatown Partnership, a separate nonprofit organization that leads efforts to improve the neighborhood’s physical environment through the Clean Streets initiative, streetscape improvements, enhanced lighting and wayfinding projects.


Rebuild Chinatown Initiative - Kiosk

Rebuild Chinatown Initiative - Kiosk

The initiative resulted in, among other things, the construction of an informational kiosk on Canal Street designed to make the neighborhood of Chinatown more accessible to tourists.