The mere mention of a trailer park conjures images of criminals in wife-beaters, moldy mattresses thrown awry, and Confederate flags.
As with most social phenomena, there is a much more interesting reality behind this crass cliché. Trailer parks remain one of the last forms of housing in US cities provided by the market explicitly for low-income residents. Better still, they offer a working example of traditional urban design elements and private governance.
The War on Affordable Housing
Any discussion of trailer parks should start with the fact that most forms of low-income housing have been criminalized in nearly every major US city. Beginning in the 1920s, urban policymakers and planners started banning what they deemed as low-quality housing, including boarding houses, residential hotels, and low-quality apartments. Meanwhile, on the outer edges of many cities, urban policymakers undertook a policy of "mass eviction and demolition" of low-quality housing.