Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Char Miller

Reader 2

Annelle Curulla

Reader 3

Michelle Berenfeld

OCLC Record Number



The development of San Francisco, much like many American cities, is deeply entwined with the spatial process of settler-colonialism. Fueled by White supremacist processes of appropriation, dispossession and exclusion, city officials and White San Franciscans legally, financially, and socially segregated Chinese immigrants who entered into the U.S. context to a dense and degraded ethnic enclave. Henri Lefebvre and David Harvey theorize on The Right to the City, the social production of space and the ways in which social processes can be concretized by space. This thesis applies these concepts to the racialized space of San Francisco’s Chinatown. An examination of the destruction of Chinatown and much of the city after San Francisco 1906 earthquake offers unique insights into the continuation of these social processes which designate worthy or unworthy inhabitants of the city. In resisting displacement, many Chinatown residents and business owners chose to redefine their neighborhood to centralize desirability and acceptability to White tourists. While the community succeeded in its goal, the built environment that resulted did not give them the Right to the City but instead elevated the cultural experience and goods they could offer to the wider city.