UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Older mobile home parks in the Lower Mainland Hall, William Parker


The mobile home is one response to the problems associated with the issue of housing affordability. For many individuals mobile home living in a park environment is a viable and attractive alternative to conventional housing. Older mobile home parks, the focus of this thesis, are an integral part of the wider system of mobile home environments. The older parks existing today have been subject to many changing conditions, the scale, rate and nature of which have been felt by all those associated with parks and park living. The role of older parks is unclear and a situation exists which poses problems for some people and is of no concern to others. Older parks are criticized as being, among other things, unsightly, ill-designed, poorly located and the source of a variety of other problems. At least two recent studies indicate that something should be done to improve conditions in existing parks. To begin this task it has been necessary to identify the conditions and problems and suggest a means to remedy the situation. This study of older parks is designed to be used as a framework for developing a public policy regarding the place of older mobile home parks within the metropolitan environment of Greater Vancouver. Moreover, it is hoped that the study will provide an example for smaller communities in this province in how to deal with mobile home parks. The research process has involved a detailed study of the nature of the mobile home and mobile home park in terms of general historical perspective and the particular Canadian experience. A discussion of the state of the mobile home industry in Canada and background to the slowdown experienced since 1974 serve to indicate the close ties between mobile home and mobile home park. Following a review of the constraints and regulations in the system of providing for mobile home parks, and variety of types and functions of these parks, the process and economics of park development are described briefly. The extensive literature review portion of this thesis is justified in terms of its non-existence in a Canadian academic format and the necessity for a more complete perspective of the analytical study. Empirical research for the thesis involved the compilation and analysis of existing physical, operational and management characteristics of thirty older mobile home parks in Langley, Surrey, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. Data was obtained by first hand investigation of conditions in these parks and interviews with many parties concerned about the provision for mobile home parks. The interviews included some core questions but were largely unstructured due to the nature of the investigation. Collection of this data was made possible through a summer position in 19 78 with the former B.C. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. Motivation for research into this topic was based on the hypothesis that older parks are subject to criticism from a stereotyped point of view and often unsubstantiated claims of problems and inadequacies. The study does identify certain problems associated with some older parks, including poor design and location, park redevelopment and combined commercial-residential operations. Other problems however, can be associated with some parks of any age, and these include park entrance fees, regulations, rent control, the landlord-tenant relationship, poor design and the significant shortage of mobile home park spaces. The research has clearly indicated that there is no such entity as a typical older mobile home park. Thus, the recommendations put forth are meant to account for the extent of variety among parks and to guide policy decisionmaking. The most significant conclusions of this thesis are: 1. The evaluation of park quality is, like so many qualitative judgements in life, a function of personal and societal values and biases. What is adequate and functional shelter to one person may be substandard and offensive to another. 2. Some of the readily apparent problems with older parks can be construed more as institutional in nature rather than as defects that can be corrected by camouflaging o by moving them. 3. Older parks are victims of changing times, escalating land values and urban pressure on the land. It may be that the market will ultimately determine local government planning objectives with respect to mobile parks. This however, will be an evolutionary process, with parks of various forms and vintages remaining for many years to come. 4. The mobile home park is a unique form of land and dwelling tenure. As such, the relationship between landlord and tenant requires close and judicious scrutiny. 5. Official attitudes toward mobile home parks are only slowly changing. It is critical that local governments become more responsive to the issues at hand if the pressures on the existing park system are to be reduced The strategies that can be developed to manage the problems must clearly identify the objectives in mind and for whom the problems are the objects of concern. This thesis will outline the concerns that must be examined in order to promote a comprehensive planning approach toward the future of older mobile parks in the lower mainland.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.