Closure of mobile-home parks in fast-developing State College sparks conversation about gentrification, affordable housing

By Min Xian, WHYY
December 15, 2017

Some of the communities experiencing the most rapid changes in Pennsylvania are those that abut colleges and universities.

State College, for instance, has boomed in recent years largely due to the growing influence of Pennsylvania State University’s Main Campus. In general, this development has been positive for surrounding Center County, where there’s been a 10 percent rise in median household income since 2009.

But this growth hasn’t necessarily been a tide that’s lifted all boats, leaving fewer options for affordable housing in the area.

One option that’s been particularly diminished recently: mobile homes. Since 2013, about 200 mobile-home units in State College have been lost because the land surrounding the university has increased in value.

To former mobile-home resident Matt Rooke, this change looks and feels a lot like gentrification, a concept more often linked to development in urban centers like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh — less so in Centre County.

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