Heat Resilience and Housing Assemblages: effects on home and well being among mobile home dwellers of Mesa, Arizona

Authors: Katsiaryna Varfalameyeva*, Arizona State University, Patricia Solís , Arizona State University, Lora Phillips , Arizona State University, Elisha Charley , Arizona State University
Topics: Hazards and Vulnerability, Human-Environment Geography, United States
Keywords: mobile homes, heat, health, resilience
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 9:35 AM / 10:50 AM
Room: Virtual 6
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Despite that mobile homes are an affordable housing alternative for many, the heat exposure and economic burden of living in trailer parks present a unique challenge for climate adaptation. We deployed what we term “Embedded Convergence Research” to uncover a puzzling pattern that had been previously undetected and unexplained: while 4.9% of Maricopa County residents live in mobile home parks, residents of these parks comprise 27.5% of such deaths. The purpose of the study was to better understand how individuals and families living in mobile housing in Mesa, Arizona are systematically constrained against adaptations to extreme heat in an era of climate change. Our interest centers on how their dwellings, utility frameworks and the built environment together forge crisis housing, rendering them ineligible to receive federal programs or bill relief, or structural remedies, while their heat morbidity and mortality are disproportionately high. We undertook a major data effort to specifically measure the impact of heat on home and wellbeing on the individual household level, especially for lower- and middle-class struggling residents, and temperature/humidity exposures to paint the particular constraints that this housing assemblage presents. Weather readings, building audit data, and survey responses provide detailed evidence to inform systematic understanding about exposure, risk, and behavior across a variety of conditions in mobile home parks. Beyond contributing to scholarship on housing assemblages, as well as on indoor heat-related deaths, our work underscores the need for community-engaged research through processes that liberate data and engage the public as co-producers of knowledge.

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