Is relocation transformation?
Abandoning one’s established home and livelihood to relocate in another country would normally be seen as transformative for the people concerned. Relocation within the same country or region would be seen as less challenging, but could still involve dramatic changes for those moving – this could include “migration” within an almost borderless region such as the EU or between Australia and New Zealand. Modern communications make the experience of being away from home very different from the past, and it is likely that today’s migrants may be able to avoid many of the transformative experiences earlier migrants could not avoid. The field of DRR has long employed relocation as an important strategy to reduce risk through reducing exposure to some natural or human made hazard. This includes voluntary and compulsory permanent relocation, but more usually involves temporary movement as a way of avoiding the hazard. This temporary relocation can be seen as a way of avoiding the transformation that would likely occur if the move was permanent – or if the people remained fully exposed to the hazard with its consequences in death and injury. Relocation can be and is used in other ways to avoid transformative action, eg remittances that allow people to remain in areas even when local livelihoods have collapsed. Relocation may enhance resistance to broader change. Despite this, relocation may be transformative for those who actually move. This raises the issue of scales of time, space and numbers of people. Key words: relocation, exposure, scale, modern experience, transformation
Transformation in a Changing Climate