According to the Municipal Assessor’s Office, 5% of Anchorage’s housing units,
or 4,700 units, are mobile homes. Mobile homes represent an important affordable
housing resource in the community; however, market forces and aging infrastructure in
older parks have resulted in numerous closures that have eliminated at least 535 lots in
the past six years. Units are often more than forty years old, and unable to be moved
without incurring significant damage. Evicted tenants of those parks can lose their
lifetime housing investment in a single notice, a result of the tenuous scenario of owning
a home but having no control over the land on which the home sits.
Public investment in mobile homes, through housing grant and rehab programs,
has too often been directed to substandard mobile homes in leasehold communities.
While these programs address health and safety issues, they do little to improve the
overall quality of housing stock, much less contribute to asset building potential that
comes from traditional homeownership investment.
The Municipality of Anchorage would like to better understand the existing
conditions of its mobile home parks, as well as the condition of manufactured homes
within those parks. Some parks, based on zoning, condition, size, and location, may be
viable neighborhoods that should be preserved as long-term housing. Park preservation
examples from around the country, through conversion to cooperatively-owned or land
trust models, have demonstrated the benefits of helping residents achieve safe, secure,
and asset building potential in housing. A cooperatively owned park would also provide
an opportunity for public grant programs to invest in new housing units for low- and
moderate-income households, in a location in which long-term land control has been
secured. Alternatively, given that mobile homes in Anchorage are one of the most
affordable forms of housing, consideration should be made to enact inclusionary zoning
policies on mobile home park land; in other words, when the parks themselves are
redeveloped, incentives and requirements should be considered so that affordable housing
is developed once the old “trailers” are vacated.
This paper examines the number and condition of Anchorage mobile home parks,
and creates an index identifying those parks most at risk for closure. It examines the
regulatory and market forces that serve as impediments to park preservation. Utilizing
lessons learned from other parts of the country, the paper examines the tools, resources,
and strategies for preserving and improving parks. Finally, a general discussion of
inclusionary housing is included in order to examine redevelopment alternatives that
preserve the units of affordable housing, if not the mobile homes themselves.
Robinson, Tyler. Preservation or Redevelopment: Options, Conditions, and Risks Facing Mobile Home Parks in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Case for Affordable Housing. July 24 2009. Sept 22 2009. Hubert H Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
professional paper in partial fulfillment of the Master of Urban and Regional Planning degree requirements.
Preservation or Redevelopment: Options, Conditions, and Risks Facing Mobile Home Parks in Anchorage, Alaska, and the Case for Affordable Housing.
Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.