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Beyond the Owner-Renter Divide in Disaster Planning: A Geographical Analysis of Mobile Home Park Damage and Recovery After Hurricane Harvey

Authors: Andrew Rumbach*, University of Colorado Denver, Esther Sullivan, University of Colorado Denver, Carrie Makarewicz, University of Colorado Denver
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: Mobile Home Park, Manufactured Housing, Disaster, Risk, Harvey
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Mobile homes are a significant part of our nation’s affordable housing supply. An estimated 2.9 million mobile homes are located within mobile home parks (MHPs). MHPs are frequently exposed to hazards and disasters. Past research has shown that affordable housing is a key component of the built environment, but the limited scholarship on affordable housing and disasters has focused almost entirely on site-built housing. Because of the unique characteristics of MHPs – their mixed tenure arrangements, park ownership structure, and treatment under local laws and regulations – we hypothesize that MHPs are exposed to, and recover from, disaster events differently than other affordable housing types.

In this paper we utilize a mixed-methods research design to study the geography of exposure and recovery of MHPs in the Houston metropolitan statistical area (MSA) after Hurricane Harvey. First, we locate all MHPs in the 9-county region using tax record data. Next, we overlay Harvey flood models to estimate the extent, and magnitude, of flood exposure. Third, we use pre-Harvey remotely sensed imagery to count the number, and type, of mobile homes in each park and use flood data to estimate the level of damage and unit loss for each park. Finally, we review local development regulations related to mobile home parks and flood recovery. These findings represent the first-time, comprehensive and comparative analysis of the exposure and recovery of the mobile home park housing stock of a major metropolitan area following an extreme eve

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