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Leaving home: place attachment and decisions to move in the face of environmental change

Abstract

The relationship between environmental factors and human mobility is neither simple nor linear, rather it is often indirect and mediated by social, cultural, and economic drivers. We present a case that one important and, until recently, neglected factor in the nexus between environmental change and decisions to migrate is attachment to place. We consider how environmental change might enhance or diminish the perceived or experienced benefits or ‘liveability’ of a place and propose that under certain conditions, a disruption in benefits will be felt as irreversible, will be accompanied by feelings of loss and grief, and will prompt a decision to leave. We identify this as one of four ways in which place attachment is likely to be related to migration in response to environmental change: (1) in constraining the decision to leave, (2) in prompting a decision to leave when the loss becomes intolerable, (3) as a factor in destination choice, and (4) as part of the post-migration experience.

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Correspondence to Pierre Horwitz.

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Editor: Chinwe Ifejika Speranza

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Dandy, J., Horwitz, P., Campbell, R. et al. Leaving home: place attachment and decisions to move in the face of environmental change. Reg Environ Change 19, 615–620 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10113-019-01463-1

Keywords

  • Migration
  • Mobility
  • Ecological grief
  • Sense of place
  • Liveability