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Introducing climate-related counterurbanisation: Individual adaptation or societal maladaptation?

Mark Scott, Menelaos Gkartzios Orcid Logo, Keith Halfacree Orcid Logo

Habitat International, Volume: 143

Swansea University Author: Keith Halfacree Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Climate disruption today and anticipated future climate breakdown are reshaping demographic and spatial processes, with profound consequences for societies across the globe. Specifically, migration can become a key strategy to attempt to respond to and cope with environmental change. This paper seek...

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Published in: Habitat International
ISSN: 0197-3975
Published: Elsevier BV 2024
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa65272
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Abstract: Climate disruption today and anticipated future climate breakdown are reshaping demographic and spatial processes, with profound consequences for societies across the globe. Specifically, migration can become a key strategy to attempt to respond to and cope with environmental change. This paper seeks to make sense of one type of migration, counterurbanisation, in this climate breakdown era. It provides conceptual clarity to what is termed ‘climate-related counterurbanisation’ vis-à-vis wider climate-induced migration and positions climate disruption within the counterurbanisation literature. Climate-related counterurbanisation is presented as a largely voluntary movement down the settlement hierarchy as a direct or indirect response to climate change, with positive representations of ‘rurality’ central to the relocation decision: individual adaptation. However, it is mediated by numerous geographically variegated and specific environmental, cultural, social and economic factors. Indeed, it may ultimately come to be seen more as maladaptation than adaptation. While moving from urban to rural may make sense at individual household level, such relocations can overall have much more negative impacts on host rural communities or the urban people left behind.
Keywords: Adaptation; Climate breakdown; Counterurbanisation; Maladaptation; Mobilities; climate change; counterurbanization; rural-urban migration; social impact; social mobility.
College: Faculty of Science and Engineering
Funders: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the XXIX European Society for Rural Sociology congress.