Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2008

Degree Name

Master of Architecture - (M.Arch.)


School of Architecture

First Advisor

M. Stephen Zdepski

Second Advisor

Darius Sollohub

Third Advisor

James Dart


A capable migrant labor force is critical in sustaining the United States' agriculture industry. Yet, migrant farm workers are among the most economically disadvantaged people in the United States (NCFH). The housing available to migrant workers in the United States is typically substandard and subject to other factors, such as local availability, social stigmas and legal status. While housing is usually provided by a grower (on-the-farm) or acquired by the migrant worker himself (off-the-farm), there seem to exist no examples of portable housing that a worker can transport from job to job. This study seeks to explore the viability of portable dwellings as a housing typology for migrant farm workers. Portable housing would readily seem to be the best suited form of housing for a demographic whose livelihood depends on being mobile.

This study is divided into three parts. The first part will summarize the migrant experience. By analyzing existing research across various fields, including anthropology, economics and sociology, this research will establish an understanding of a typical migrant worker's lifestyle and career outlook. The second part will survey the scope of migrant housing in the United States. Illustrating both typical housing conditions and exceptional examples will help to reveal the problems associated with migrant housing, as well as to identify the successes. The third part will present a design for a portable dwelling based on the lessons learned from the first two parts.

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