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

Document Type

Journal Article


Springer Verlag


School of Arts and Humanities/ School of Science/ Centre for Ecosystem Management


Originally published as: Dandy, J., Horwitz, P., Campbell, R., Drake, D., & Leviston, Z. (2019). Leaving home: Place attachment and decisions to move in the face of environmental change. Regional Environmental Change, 19(2), 615-620. Original article available here


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. © 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.