Borders of Chinatowns

Since starting the project I have visited Chinatowns for the first time, an several in the UK: Birmingham, London and Liverpool. Whilst visiting I have noticed that there aren’t any officially defined borders for these areas, this is directly relatable to the maps of the areas.Although there may be no defined borders, and whilst you are walking you are not in the Chinatown and the next minute you are there is nearly always an archway at the edge, this is seen as entering the Chinatown, some including London have more than one on what may be seen as different borders. These archways are a very iconic design and is the first thing that comes to mind for many when you hear the word Chinatown. Is this a suited entry to these areas? I think it is, it shows the sudden change if culture that you are about to come across, they are beautiful landmarks and radiate the Chinese culture.

There are however other things that you can keep an eye out for to suggest that you are nearing a Chinatown. To begin with, and perhaps the most obvious is a sudden increase in Chinese restaurants and takeaways, with this comes the smell of the food they are serving, such as noodles and rice. As well as this you will notice that a lot of the signs about for example road signs will also have a Chinese translation below the English, I noticed this a lot in London, however it was present at all the Chinatowns that I have visited. There were also other subtle signs such as looking out for the colours green and red, these are very obvious within the Chinatown itself and also act as a suggestion that you are entering one, I noticed this in all the places I visited but most when I went to Liverpool, from things such as lampposts and signs to apartment blocks all sporting these colours.


It is very unusual that a Chinatowns borders are marked out on a map, however when I was doing some research I discovered that Birmingham’s Chinatown actually has a border around it, showing where the Chinatown is. This is very unusual, especially as the Chinatown here is one of the smaller ones and has less of a define border when you are actually there. As you zoom in further on the maps it is however clear that you have entered an are with a different culture, the number of Chinese restaurants and supermarkets rapidly increase.