Image of Boston Chinatown Master Plan Boston Chinatown Master Plan
Boston Chinatown Master Plan, Tunney Lee, 2010

MIT architects and urban planners have shaped many features of Boston. The most recent compelling effort is the Boston Chinatown Master Plan released in the spring of 2010 following a two-year process led by the Chinatown Gateway Coalition. The stated goal of the coalition was to create a community vision for the 20-acre Chinatown Gateway/South Bay Special Study Area and update the Chinatown Master Plan. One of the plan’s guiding figures is MIT Urban Studies Professor Tunney Lee. Few planners have loved or contributed more to our understanding of Boston’s many neighborhoods than Lee, the former chief of planning and design at the Boston Redevelopment Authority. Chinatown is special for Lee, however, since he has lived in this neighborhood for nearly 70 years. Lee’s first MIT graduate student, Randall Imai, drew the Community Plan on display here, and other MIT alumni have been involved in this latest effort to enhance and preserve one of the nation’s oldest and most important Chinatown neighborhoods.

On loan from the Chinatown Gateway Coalition and the Chinese Progressive Association.

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  • How we can see the chinese things.

    10 Jan 11 at 9:34 am
  • The map shown in the photo above is hung in the “MIT’s Boston” section of the exhibit. You can also follow the links in the “Related Information” section above.

    Perhaps people will also provide additional information in this comment section.

    10 Jan 11 at 10:24 am
  • I submitted an article for the local SAMPAN newspaper that is an addendum and explains in more detail of the role MIT alumni played in preserving and sustaining the Chinatown neighborhood. (

    16 Feb 11 at 9:27 pm
  • Just a cautionary note: Good urban planning is important but beware of the details in zoning, development incentives, transportation hubs, hidden agendas….
    Chinatowns have disappeared and will be disappearing throughout the United States—as adjacent financial and commercial cores expand. Consider how quickly Washington DC’s Chinatown has shrunk after the new subway station. Before and after the 1906 Great Earthquake, San Francisco’s business and political leaders laid plans to relocate its Chinatown to the southern Bay View District. But fortunately, Chinatown leaders fought back with political acumen of their own; and won.
    Land-use, development and profit are powerful forces; and a ravenous financial/political complex will work in a mysterious ways to undermine affordable/ cultural/ historical neighborhoods—which are, in themselves, economic engines for tourism and business incubators.

    23 Nov 11 at 8:41 pm