Aiha Nguyen is Senior Research/Policy Analyst at the LA Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE). She first joined LAANE as an intern while completing her master's degree in urban planning at UCLA. After graduating, she returned to LAANE as a policy analyst on the Accountable Airports Project.


Walmart in Chinatown: There Goes the Neighborhood


The recent confirmation that Walmart will be setting up shop in LA's Chinatown made my heart drop. This is a neighborhood that will always hold a special place in my heart. Having previously worked in the community for two years, I can tell you stories of eating pastries at Phoenix Bakery or the smells of ginseng and tea wafting from Wing Hop Fung or the sound of elders debating loudly at family association meetings.

Chinatown holds so much history but it’s also a living community that remains a cultural and economic hub for hundreds of thousands of other Chinese, Vietnamese and other Asian American residents. It has been the landing spot for immigrants for centuries, even after the original Chinatown was demolished and moved to its current location. Despite this disruption, the fabric of the community has managed to stay intact – continuing to provide a sense of community for many Asian Americans.