Although vehicles are among the most common shelters used by people across North America, there are few studies on vehicle residency as primary housing; most of these have focused on vehicle residency in oppositional contexts of either temporary vacationing or abject homelessness. This article draws on ethnographic and archaeological research conducted from 2010 to 2020 to document intersecting personal, systemic, and structural dimensions of long-term vehicle residency in public parking throughout Seattle (Washington State, United States). It illustrates how settlement bias and structural violence constrain people’s decisions of vehicle residency in publicly accessible parking. The implications and recommendations from this research support the inclusion of vehicle residency in community services, policies, and affordable housing.
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Research Article| April 21 2023
Homes Without Homes: An Ethno-Archaeology of Vehicle Residency in Public Parking
Graham J. Pruss
Graham J. Pruss
All primary research was conducted by Graham J. Pruss at the University of Washington, Seattle University, and the University of California San Francisco. Graham was inspired to conduct this research based on his lived experiences, including homelessness as a youth; dependence on social services, medical, and housing assistance as a teen parent; and years of volunteer and professional outreach work with people who live in public spaces, particularly in vehicles. This study and its findings were only possible because of vehicle residents who shared their life stories, experiences, and perspectives. Their contributions and stakeholder review were essential to conducting this research ethically, compassionately, and candidly.
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Human Organization (2023) 82 (2): 153–168.
Graham J. Pruss; Homes Without Homes: An Ethno-Archaeology of Vehicle Residency in Public Parking. Human Organization 1 June 2023; 82 (2): 153–168. doi: https://doi.org/10.17730/1938-3525-82.2.153
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