Slow, small and shared voluntary relocations: learning from the experience of migrants living on the urban fringes of Khulna, Bangladesh

Ashraful Alam*, Fiona Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The paper conceptualises the process of voluntary relocation undertaken by rural farmers to informal settlements in coastal cities. These are journeys that occur without formal institutional support, utilising migrants' own agency. Learning from these community-driven relocations has merit in rethinking climate change adaptation at the regional level. In this paper we present stories of 17 families who have progressively relocated to the fringes of Khulna city in southwestern Bangladesh. We observe three key attributes: first, relocations are slow, neither singular nor immediately completed, but rather take months of careful back and forth journeys of family members between their places of origin and destination. Second, relocations rely on small networks of relatives and acquaintances at the destination. Third, relocations are built on shared responsibilities distributed among a range of actors in places of origin and destination. We conclude that these slow, small and shared relocations are likely to be realised as forms of ongoing adaptation by rural farmers if their aspirational mobilities, social relations and supports are maintained at a regional scale. This kind of migration as adaptation may bring about just outcomes for those displaced without necessarily promoting rigid planning interventions that tend to fix resettlement solutions in place and time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-338
Number of pages14
JournalAsia Pacific Viewpoint
Volume60
Issue number3
Early online date10 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Keywords

  • adaptation
  • Bangladesh
  • climate change
  • displacement
  • migration
  • voluntary relocation

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