Stanford Studies

The Families and Children Who Live in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park

In January 2013 Drs. Donald Barr and Amado Padilla from the Stanford University Graduate School of Education began a research study on the educational and health status of the children who live in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park in Palo Alto.

Buena Vista has been part of the Palo Alto community for nearly a century. It provides a source of permanent affordable housing for low-income individuals and families. In 2012 the owners of the property on which Buena Vista is located announced plans to close down the Mobile Home Park and sell the land to a commercial developer. As the controversy surrounding the proposed closure of Buena Vista has grown following this announcement, we became aware of a core issue that has come up repeatedly: there were almost no data about the children who live at Buena Vista, and how the closure of the Park might affect them.

The results were reported in the Graduate School of Education newsletter. Barr and Padilla concluded that:

The children living in the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park are benefiting from a strong educational experience and the local availability of health insurance and health care providers, with the exception of dentists who accept public insurance plans. These benefits stand in stark contrast to low-income Hispanic children living in less affluent communities than Palo Alto that do not enjoy the same educational and health care resources.

The reports on this research project are available here:

After the  two Stanford professors concluded their year-long research project focused on the 69 families with children living at Buena Vista (who they were, where the kids went to school, etc), they then wanted to find how BV residents were seen by their neighbors in Barron Park.

A survey was designed (meeting international standards of methodology and Stanford’s research guidelines) and sent by mail to 1650 households in Barron Park. Over a third of the households participated (a very respectable response).

After results were analyzed, a 12-page Survey Report was published about the knowledge and attitudes of Barron Park toward Buena Vista, and what the neighbors would like to see happen there (Buena Vista residents were not included in the survey – they had taken one of their own). The conclusions are on page 12.

On May 13, 2014, Dr. Amado Padilla testified at the administrative law hearings on the closure of the Buena Vista Mobile Home Park: