Trailer park

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In the United States, trailer parks are stereotypically viewed as lower income housing whose occupants live at or below the poverty line, have low social status and lead a desultory and deleterious lifestyle. Despite the advances in manufactured home technology, the trailer park stereotype still survives, evidenced in a statement by Presidential adviser James Carville in the course of one of the Bill Clinton White House political scandals, "Drag $100 bills through trailer parks, there's no telling what you'll find"," regarding Paula Jones.[1] It is also seen in the Canadian Mockumentary, Trailer Park Boys.

In the United States, tornadoes and hurricanes often inflict their worst damage on trailer parks, usually because the structures are not secured to the ground and their construction is significantly less able to withstand high wind forces than regular houses. However, most modern manufactured homes are built to withstand high winds as well as a mainstream home, using hurricane straps and proper foundations.


Recent history

This perception of trailer parks was not improved by the creation of emergency trailer parks by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the displaced victims of Hurricane Katrina, the quality and temporary nature of which was disputed.[2] Many stereotypes have developed regarding people who live in trailer parks, which are similar to stereotypes of the poor and the term Trailer trash often used as an adjective in the same vein as the derogatory American terms white trash or ghetto. Though trailer parks appear throughout the United States, they are often associated with the Deep South and rural areas.

More recently referred to in the U.S. as mobile home communities or manufactured housing sites, the stereotypes are often just that. Retirement communities exist in many locales that permit mobile home parks as "over-50 parks". Homeowners must be over the age of 50 and persons under the age of 21 are rarely permitted to live there. These can be gated communities with ammenities such as swimming pools, clubhouses and on-site maintenance. Homes are often permanently installed on foundations. However, in certain circumstances residents may not own the land their homes occupy.

Outside North America

In Europe, particularly in Germany and Spain, there are several disputed trailer parks mostly forcefully or unlawfully placed on squatted land in the midst of urban centers (Berlin, Hamburg, Barcelona). Names for such phenomena include Wagenburg, Wagendorf or Bauwagenplatz (all German, meaning: "wagon fort", "trailer village" and "construction trailer place" respectively) and people living there are often associated with the punk movement and do-it-yourself punk ethic. A somewhat similar phenomenon exists in Britain, in the form of communities established informally by New age travelers, Irish travelers, and Roma. On the whole, however, trailer parks are much less common in these countries than they are elsewhere and in North America and are much less emblematic of a distinct lifestyle and membership to a certain social class.

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