New Chinatown in San Jose
San Jose's Student Avenue, known as the Paseo de los Estudiantes, will soon be known by another name: Chinatown. The area will be pedestrian-only, and will undergo a complete overhaul – new architecture, design, and other details to replicate common themes in Chinese urban development.
The $1.4 million project, co-funded by the Municipality of San Jose and the Chinese government, will stretch for six city blocks – from Avenidas 2 through 14. Construction is slated to begin in February and, over the course of eight months, this stretch of road will transform into an urban homage to Chinese culture, complete with restaurants, art galleries, Chinese groceries, and other stores. In preparation, San Jose's planning committee called on the wisdom of established Chinese architects and designers.
The first Chinese immigrants in Costa Rica arrived more than 150 years ago; over the years, many more immigrated and major Chinese communities were established in Puntarenas and San Jose. Today, approximately 1% of Costa Ricans (about 45,000 people) identify as Chinese. While Chinese-Costa Ricans live throughout the country, strong communities remain in Puntarenas, Nicoya, Limon and San Jose, especially near the future Chinatown.
San Jose's Chinatown is part of an ongoing urban beautification project. The citywide effort is working to improve the city's image and scenic beauty. Chinatown will provide more jobs in the area, and will also offer an opportunity for more social and cultural interaction between Costa Ricans and tourists.