Chinatown Master Plan 2020

Photo via Mahesh, Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Photo via Mahesh, Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Chinatown Master Plan 2020

JUNE 2020

Chinatown Master Plan 2020

The Chinatown Master Plan 2020 is an update to the neighborhood's 2010 Master Plan. The plan focuses on stabilizing Chinatown as a diverse, residential neighborhood anchored by immigrant and working-class families and as a sustainable social, economic, and cultural hub. This update assesses important trends and highlights opportunities in particular ares: housing, public realm, mobility, and historic and cultural preservation.

As an update and continuation of previous community-led master plans, this 2020 document includes demographic data and qualitative observations on changes in Boston Chinatown since 2010. It then highlights specific goals and corresponding implementation strategies for housing, the public realm, mobility, and historic preservation. It also outlines community visions for four specific opportunity areas: Chinatown Gateway, Parcel A & 50 Herald, Phillips Square, and Parcel R-1. Concerns and mitigation measures for air pollution are woven across all sections, and building- and urban design-specific interventions are laid out in their own section.


In 2018, MAPC began working with the Chinatown Master Plan Committee on a Health Lens Analysis of air pollution from nearby highways. The committee, which consists of Chinatown residents and representatives from community-based organizations, provided guidance and feedback about the project, discussing related topics like housing, economic status, and environmental impacts. Soon, the HLA evolved into an opportunity to update the community's master plan for the future at the same time that the City of Boston was preparing to launch its own PLAN: Downtown Boston.

In Fall 2019, MAPC joined the project team to write the 2020 Chinatown Master Plan. The Chinatown Master Plan Committee oversaw the drafting of goals and strategies based on the results of community meetings and workshops. 

The first Chinatown Community Plan of 1990 came from community members’ concerns about competing demands for affordable housing and institutional expansion in Chinatown. In the two decades since 2000, the luxury housing boom has resulted in a decreasing percentage of Chinatown households that are working-class families. This trend has spurred multiple efforts to stabilize Chinatown and protect its role as an anchor for low-income working-class immigrants. Like the 2000 and 2010 Chinatown Master Plans, this 2020 document reflects the local community’s continued goal to define and preserve Chinatown as an anchor community. 

CAFEH Chinatown Workshop

Key Goals:

  • Develop Chinatown as a Historic and Cultural District that celebrates its history as an anchor neighborhood for immigrant working class families.
  • Maximize affordable housing development on public and community-controlled land, with a particular priority on housing for low income families.
  • Preserve every unit of Chinatown’s existing subsidized housing and seek opportunities to secure permanent affordability.
  • Seek opportunities to remove properties from the private market for permanent affordability.
  • Improve community health and quality of life, including greening efforts, open space improvements, prioritization of pedestrian safety, air pollution mitigation, and planning for climate change.


Summer-Winter 2018

Spring-Summer 2019

Fall 2019

Winter 2019

Spring 2020

Chinatown 2020 Master Plan: A Health Lens Analysis
Development begins with Harvard GD Healthy Places class

Health Lens Analysis Release
February 8 presentation to MPIC

Healthy Chinatown Design Workshop: Baseline Information
May 6 presentation to MPIC

Community Meeting: Healthy Chinatown Design Workshop
July 20, Josiah Quincy School Cafeteria

Healthy Chinatown Workshop Report Back
August 26 presentation to MPIC

Community Meeting: Healthy Chinatown Design Workshop Report Release
September 9

Key Stakeholder Meeting: Historic and Cultural Preservation
September 25

Community Meeting: Historic and Cultural Preservation
October 19

Draft Chinatown 2020 Master Plan begins development

Community leaders' exploratory meeting with Boston Landmarks Commissioner
December 2

Presentation:  Draft Chinatown Master Plan Strategy
February 3

Report Release: Chinatown Master Plan 2020 Update

Community Meeting: Report Release
June 3 (Zoom)

Citywide Public Meeting: Report Release
June 9 (Zoom)