When walking up from the North Remote Parking lot, a gigantic redwood tree is seen in the center of the park, welcoming its residents with a breezy hello.

Beyond Kresge College and near the Heller Drive trailhead lies a neighborhood brimming with a comforting trance, artistic expression and unconventional housing. Founded in the early 1980s, UC Santa Cruz’s trailer park began as an unofficial community at the East Remote Parking Lot on campus. After constant battling with university administration, UCSC conformed to student demand by paving over land in the northwest side of campus, giving birth to the trailer park.

This year, I decided to wait all summer for a chance at living at the park. I moved into my spot the Sunday before classes started, couch surfing with a few worthwhile friends beforehand. I mostly wanted to live there for a chance to say, “Oh hey, I lived there.” The rent is reasonable due to my single not having a sewer connection, which means I actually have money to buy groceries this year.

That said, I have adopted a personal connection with the park itself, and as a thanks here’s a short visual journey through my home for the next year.

Community members tend to put up their own art in front on their trailers. This horse person is one of the results. photo by Dustin Choto
Every so often the bra tower, located in the park’s community area, gets another addition, further adding to the tower of cotton and polyester. It’s a nice conversation starter for folks hanging out at the tables in the area while they’re grilling or doing homework.
photo by Dustin Choto
Some of the parks’ residents strive for a vegetative beauty when decorating their space. Not only do their lawns radiate a herbal elegance, the park smells better as a result. The added aroma is noteworthy since the park tends to smell funky due to the presence of grey water tanks for most trailers.
photo by Dustin Choto
Trailer #1, also known as my pad. I don’t clean it very much with my bed usually covered by purposely constructed mountains of clothes. Since living here, I reduced my water use so my grey water tank doesn’t overflow quickly. I’ve also been wearing sandals often since the floor tends to attract a lot of dirt from shoes making cleaning a hassle.
photo by Dustin Choto