"Diversity" on main street? Branding race and place in the new "Majority-Minority" Suburbs

Wendy Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The emergence in the United States of an increasing number of spaces across the socioeconomic spectrum with majority nonwhite populations merits close attention because of these spaces' potential in reconfiguring historical and contemporary claims to place. In an era in which the neoliberalization of urban development has spurred local governments toward more active involvement in defining relationships between race, ethnicity, consumption, and space, "majority-minority" suburbs are particularly important sites of study. In the late 2000s, two branding campaigns in majority-Asian American and Latina/o municipalities in Los Angeles's San Gabriel Valley-a densely populated region popularly known as a "suburban Chinatown"-put forth specific discourses of race, ethnicity, and culture in attempts to actualize specific visions and claims to place, identity, and history. In doing so, these campaigns illuminated and reinforced larger racial, geographic, and ideological divides. "Diversity" on Main Street embraced pluralist multicultural discourses of the nation, while the "Golden Mile" proposal sought to showcase the transformation of a central thoroughfare by ethnic Chinese capital and immigration. A close examination and comparison of these two campaigns shows how struggles over race, geography, and history are intertwined in the contemporary identities of places and integral to the shaping of civic landscapes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)458-486
Number of pages29
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Branding
  • Identity
  • Los angeles
  • Place
  • Race
  • Suburbs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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