"Man camps" are a defining characteristic of an oil boom. Development happens so fast, there's never enough time to build adequate permanent housing - so temporary worker housing takes up the slack. When oil prices come crashing down, the man camps empty out.
Two researchers from the University of North Dakota, Bill Caraher and Bret Webber, said this housing boom-bust cycle is just part of a long history of settlement on the northern Great Plains. As part of their ongoing North Dakota Man Camp Project, they visit dozens of RV parks across the Bakken multiple times a year, interviewing residents and taking note of changes.