My RV = My home! Freedom camping (boondocking) in Australia: a challenging "mobility" for urban planning and policy

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Publication details

Caldicott, RW, Jenkins, JM & Scherrer, P 2017, 'My RV = My Home! Freedom camping (boondocking) in Australia: a challenging "mobility" for urban planning and policy', paper presented to Association of American Geographers: AAG Annual Meeting, 4-9 April, Boston, USA.

Peer Reviewed



For some Australian's, the self-contained RV is their home away from home, their second home residence and for others their mobile first home. The caravan park, traditionally symbolizing caravanning is rapidly giving way as population demographics, with an increasing baby-boomer skew coupled with technological advancement in RV manufacturing, are impacting caravanning developments. The RV itself is now the focus; its serviceability as a travelling tiny house - a residential 'home unit' occupied in public places rather than as a temporary 'holiday unit' designed for private parks. As a corollary, freedom camping is a growing neo-tribal practice of contemporary RVers pursuing Ulyssean lifestyles of choice; rejecting notions of uniformity, conformity and constraint prescripted by caravan parks. RVing rejects in some ways the distinction between a first home and second home. The nomadic modality, sporting mobile, digital and satellite communications, substantially narrows divides between 'home and away', as freedom campers behave, socially and economically, like residents not tourists. Boon-docking RVing neo-tribes are temporal; characterized by fluctuating membership premised around social fluidity and geographically constructed bounds of public space. This conceptual urban shift is significant, little understood and often overlooked by destination hosts. The ephemerality of freedom camping presents complex problems. Its mobility impacts planning and policy settings for local communities, some becoming very popular, though not always welcoming camping destinations. Herein we propose a foundational taxonomy of caravanning presenting evidence-based understandings and explanations for the politics of freedom camping policy in Australia contributing to the literature on "wicked" planning and policy problems.