We finally found the first good explanation we’ve seen as to why Chinatown is so small and the Chinese population of Philadelphia is so large. It’s all in the urban planning. In a piece on plans to restore the Chinatown Gate and improve Chinatown’s image among tourists and residents, the Inquirer notes that Chinatown is basically hemmed in. Between the Gallery and Reading Market to the south, the Convention Center to the west, the Vine Steet Expressway to the north and the former Metropolitan Hospital to the east, there is basically no direction for Chinatown to expand in. Although the old Hospital is now gone and Chinatown has steadily been expanding north of Vine, many Chinese immigrants to Philadelphia prefer to live elsewhere. Middle-class Chinese immigrants usually vie for the Main Line or the Jersey suburbs, working-class Chinese immigrants have steadily been moving to the Northeast and newer ethnic Chinese from Southeast Asia have steadily been moving to South Philly. One Main Line immigrant from China interviewed criticized Chinatown for “dirty streets, outdated restaurants, bad service in hair salons, and limited parking.” However, leave it to the restaurants to inspire hope. Mark Chow, owner of the Sang Kee Peking Duck House recommends a Chinatown food festival to improve the profile of the neighborhood’s restaurants, similar to New York’s Taste of Chinatown.