Businesses all over the country are struggling with the economic fallout of COVID-19. Declining traffic and sales are hitting immigrant businesses especially hard. NPR’s Eliza Berkon reported on the effects of the pandemic on the Eden Center in Falls Church, a hub of the Northern Virginia Vietnamese community since the decline of Clarendon’s Little Saigon in the 1980’s.
Professor Morton is quoted in the article:
“Clarendon in the late ’70s and ’80s proved to be fertile ground for this nascent immigrant community. The neighborhood stores had lost much of their business, as shoppers flocked to the Parkington Shopping Center in Ballston or elsewhere, says Elizabeth Morton, an urban planning professor at Virginia Tech’s Arlington campus. (Parkington would be redeveloped as Arlington’s first modern mall, Ballston Common, in 1986.)
‘The traditional kind of Main Street walkable center — which now we planners are desperately trying to re-insert into an urban environment — was sort of falling out of fashion,’ Morton says. ‘And that was only exacerbated by the Metro.’
While construction of the Clarendon Metro stop tore up the area around Wilson Boulevard in the 1970s, building owners offered short-term leases that were ideal for refugees with entrepreneurial ambitions, Morton says. But years later, after the station opened in 1979, development boomed, rents rose, and many of Little Saigon’s business owners found better opportunities at the Eden Center, named for a shopping center in Saigon.“
Excited that my panel proposal has been accepted for the 2020 National Planning Conference. On April 27, 2020 we’ll be sharing the results of a study of legacy business initiatives across the US and sharing experiences of leaders in the field.
Legacy Business Initiatives: Emerging Directions NPC208088
Learn about three new legacy business initiatives that seek to document and promote the independent, quirky, long-standing enterprises so essential to neighborhood character and community identity. Hear the results of the first national study of legacy business programs across North America.
April 27, 8 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. Location: 361 Pardis Saffari | Shanon Miller, AICP | Wesley Regan | Elizabeth Morton
Valeria Gelman, a student in the Sping 2017 Legacy Business Studio, used material collected during the project to create a radio broadcast program.
The program, titled “The Local Shop” is broadcasting every Saturday from December to April. The show features 10 episodes featuring interviews with 14 different businesses. Check out the full story here.
VT students work on the history of Little Saigon continues to resonate in Arlington. While the studio may have ended months ago, the students’ enthusiasm has not waned. They have continued to advocate for public awareness of Clarendon’s Vietnamese history, attending many meetings with local Arlington officials.
The Arlington County Board will make a proclamation, and the event will include a number of guest speakers, public art and art activities by Artist Khánh H. Lê, and self-guided smart phone tours of Little Saigon businesses narrated by former community members.
Check out the full story on Virginia Tech’s news site: link