Climatic Change

, Volume 148, Issue 4, pp 607–621 | Cite as

Planning for climigration: a framework for effective action

  • Tony MatthewsEmail author
  • Ruth Potts


The phenomenon of ‘climigration’ is an emerging and increasing challenge to human settlements. Climigration refers to community relocation undertaken in response to climate change impacts. This paper adds to early but critical scholarly discussions by providing a land-use planning framework for organising and responding to the governance, policy, institutional and cultural implications of climigration. This paper argues that land-use planning will be increasingly required to manage climigration events over the coming decades and will rely on input and guidance from other disciplines to do so effectively. Climigration is conceptualised as an end-point of climate change adaptation in this paper. Empirical content derives from a multidisciplinary systematic quantitative literature review of international case studies of community relocations. Planning factors with critical, moderate or negligible influences on relocation success are synthesised. These are linked to the roles and functions of land-use planning systems to provide a framework for approaching climigration. The paper provides three interlinked conclusions. The first is that spatial planning systems have potential and capacity to respond to climigration as an extreme form of climate change adaptation. The second is that anticipatory policy frameworks offer the greatest advantages for successful climigration planning. The third conclusion is that maladaptation is a potential but avoidable threat connected to climigration planning.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Environment and ScienceGriffith UniversityNathanAustralia
  2. 2.School of Geography and Planning, Science and EngineeringCardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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