Connecticut Casinos Spark Urban Change
South-eastern Connecticut has undergone dramatic changes thanks to the arrival of Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in the region. Experts on “casino urbanization” said that they have altered the physical and cultural landscape in ways which could make residents react with fear and resentment.A conference held over the weekend for the exhibit “Casino Urbanization, Suburban Chinatowns & the Contested American Landscape” attracted over 100 people. The exhibit demonstrates new norms for the region including workers walking to work at the casinos.
Ellen Pader, an anthropologist and associate professor of regional planning at the University of Massachusetts, examined housing regulations in Montville, the home of Mohegan Sun and its thousands of Asian workers. Pader says that conditions built into housing regulations often target Asian residents who use living room spaces as bedrooms.
At the exhibit there is a display showing how Asians will often turn defined storage space into functional space. They will turn lawns into vegetable gardens and often hang laundry and dry fish as well.
Norwich Mayor, Deberey Hinchey, said that the city hopes to embrace the urban landscape brought by the new Asian Residents. In particular he’d like to demonstrate that Norwich is a walkable city and that the Asians are promoting this, “They walk everywhere, and it’s multi-generation. The adults and the children are out there walking.”