4. Sub-Urbanisms: Casino Urbanization, Chinatowns and the Constructed American Landscape
Diagram showing bus routes connecting the Mohegan Sun to towns all over the Northeast. Credit: Stephen Fan and Shane Keaney
At the Museum of Chinese in America, architecture and art history professor Stephen Fan curates an “Sub-Urbanisms” based off an anthropological case study of the conversion of suburban single-family homes into multi-family communities by immigrant Chinese casino workers in Connecticut. Addressing the norms, cultural values, and public policies that determine how most Americans live, the exhibition juxtaposes immigrant cultural beliefs and pragmatism with suburban American social, aesthetic, and financial codes. It also provides insight into the long-term effects of 9/11 on the New York Chinatown service industry as a significant factor behind the influx of Chinese labor seeking employment at the region’s casinos, and the formation of this satellite suburban Chinatown.