To the Editor:
I saw a Chinatown business fail once. First, they moved into an open air structure, exposing their elderly workers to the cold, and then they closed. So I was pleased when Mayor [Mike] McGinn showed active interest in Chinatown.
Some young architects I have known as students showed great eagerness for community volunteerism.
Saddened by a business that seemed almost [like] a community trust going bankrupt, I shopped around and found Dr. Sharon Sutton at the University of Washington. She teaches a class on the ethics of architecture and urban planning.
Although she told me that she thought asking her students about their interest in helping Chinatown was a good call, when I raised the issue with her students, they showed a great deal of skepticism. It has also been difficult for me to make the idea understandable to my community because of the language barrier [in Chinatown].
I’d like to think that both the students and Chinatown representatives would feel differently if someone who knew more about what sort of projects might help engage them. I tried to suggest at McGinn’s [recent] community meeting that someone from Chinatown who works with him might speak to Sutton about projects that her more idealistic students might be able to develop as volunteers.
— Mac Crary, Seattle