Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
October 17, 2018

Dr. Marie Rose Wong, Associate Professor, Institute of Public Service and Associate Appointment, Asian Studies Program and Public Affairs, has published a new book, Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels.  In it, Dr. Wong peers through the lens of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels to capture the 157-year origin story of Seattle's pan-Asian International District. This gorgeous, meticulous book layers together interviews, maps, and insights from over a decade of primary research to provide an urgent history for Asian American activists and urban planners.

Cover of book: Building Tradition: Pan-Asian Seattle and Life in the Residential Hotels by Dr. Marie Wong

She will discuss her book at two upcoming events at The Wing, Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

October 27, 10 a.m.

Sponsored by Historic Seattle, The Wing Lake Museum, and Town Hall Information and tickets here.

November 1, 6:30 p.m., Tateuchi Story Theatre

First Thursday is a pay by donation day at The Wing.

From the publisher, Chin Music Press: “Seattle's Chinatown-International District is a one-of-a-kind site of Asian American history. Growing from a single Chinese immigrant in the 1850 and 1860 Washington Territory Census to a bustling center of culture and activism, the C-ID is perhaps the only enclave in the US where different Asian immigrant groups have grown side-by-side without distinct boundaries. The intermingling was a response to both discriminatory policies and the brick-and-mortar architecture of single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels.

“The book includes a treasure trove of archival images, a series of original maps showing neighborhood change, and interviews with longtime C-ID residents. Wong's architecture and urban planning backgrounds never fail to find their anchor with the emotional realities of the people. Prophetically, this book comes at a time when C-ID residents are rallying around the anti-gentrification #humbowsnothotels campaign. Wong is hopeful that this book can provide a foundation for Asian American activists as well as cities across the country and the world looking for more just ways to increase urban density.”

Marie Wong joined the Institute of Public Service faculty in January 2002. Prior to joining Seattle University, she taught at Texas A&M, Iowa State University, CalPoly-San Luis Obispo, and the University of Washington.

Marie’s teaching and research interests are in Urban Studies, including housing, urban and architectural history, land use development, sustainability, and in Asian American studies. She has a number of presentations and publications on Chinese American settlements and urban preservation of ethnic communities that include a book on Portland, Oregon’s First Chinese communities entitled Sweet Cakes, Long Journey: The Chinatowns of Portland, Oregon.

Originally from the Midwest, Marie received her Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in Community and Regional Planning. She holds a Master’s degree in Planning and Community Development from the University of Colorado and has a Ph.D. in Urban Design and Planning with specialty areas in urban and architectural history, Chinese American history, and a Certificate in Preservation Planning from the University of Washington. In addition to teaching, Marie has over twenty-five years of experience in public and private sector planning and has worked for agencies such as the Puget Sound Regional Council, King County Transportation Planning, the City of San Diego, and King and Associates in Denver. She is currently on the Board of InterIm Community Development Corporation and is Public Information Advisor to the Kong Yick Investment Corporation.