Asian American Suburbanization and the Politics of Development

A primary focus of Dr. Lung-Amam’s work is how Asian Americans, the fastest growing racial minority group in U.S. suburbs, have transformed the form and function of everyday landscapes and the politics of their placemaking processes. Her book, Trespassers?: Asian Americans and the Battle for Suburbia (University of California Press, 2017) shows how a half century of immigration transformed California’s Silicon Valley into one of the fastest growing, and most ethnically diverse suburban regions in the U.S. It examines the efforts of Asian Americans, many of whom are highly skilled and educated immigrants, to invest in schools, neighborhoods, and shopping centers as well as the tensions that emerged over these changes. Trespassers underscores the ways in which White, middle-class norms and privilege are reinforced through suburban policy, planning, and the design of the built environment, and impact even the most well-to-do communities of color. It shows the vital role of Asian Americans in shaping suburbia, and suburbia as a critical arena for the politics of Asian American inclusion. Trespassers is among the first books to explore the politics of Asian American suburbanization in high-tech regions. 

She has also explored the dynamics of Asian American suburban placemaking and politics in journal articles and book chapters. Past articles have explored the implications of suburbanization for Asian American youth, how Asian malls defy popular depictions of suburban malls and act as vital centers of Asian American suburban life, and how the form and geography of these shopping centers reflect Silicon Valley’s diverse Asian American communities and migration histories. Her more recent work has explored faith-based institutions’ important roles as immigrant welcome centers and service providers as well as their contested neighborhood and planning politics and how immigration has transformed suburban homes and neighborhoods, including the growth of multigenerational homes and the politics of “McMansions.”

Semester / Year
2013 - Present

Team Members

Brittany Wong
Program / Center Affiliation
Research and Creative Practice Areas