Chinatown: An Informal Bus Depot

Cathy Li, Caroline Chen

The intercity buses running out of Manhattan Chinatown began as small immigrant businesses catering to niche underserved communities and, throughout the years, have expanded into a multi-million dollar transportation system. Through this expansion, conflicts have arisen within the local community. Our interactive mapping narrative aims to chart the relationships between differing sets of stakeholders located within the neighborhood: residents, bus companies, city jurisdiction. The representational decisions made aim to elucidate the degrees of temporality concerning the spatial occupation of the stakeholders, varying levels of legality and official recognition, and the depth of attachment to local space. In our project, we examine vulnerable spaces (parks, sidewalks, and commerce), and have relied heavily on data collected and made by concerned residents of the neighborhood. While this information is incomplete, we believe it is only disproportionately skewed towards the disproportionately affected. In the end, we hope to explore not only the clashes of interests, but how these relationships have formed, not only between people and communities, but between informality and governance, the clearly demarcated and the nebulous, and the connections near and far.