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August 15, 2023

“Moving or not?”: Factors affecting community responses to environmental disruption

Depari, Catharina D.A., & Lindell, Michael K. (2023). “Moving or not?”: Factors affecting community responses to environmental disruption. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 95, 103898.

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Disputes between government authorities and high-risk communities about community relocation following disasters are not new. Nevertheless, there remains a limited understanding of factors affecting people's decisions about whether to relocate from a hazard zone, particularly in the Indonesian context. Through the experience of the Pelemsari community, a culturally distinct community near Mt. Merapi that once was located less than five km from the volcano crater, this article attempts to explain why the Pelemsari community differed from neighboring communities by abandoning its previous resistance to relocation after an unprecedented eruption in 2010. To explain this behavior change, the study used hermeneutic phenomenology, a methodology rooted in the people-place relationship and specifically used to unfold the meaning structures of a lived experience. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews, field observations, and document reviews. The results showed that people's strong place attachment affected residents' decision to uphold unity with their neighbors, select a relocation site that is outside the hazard zone but close to the former location, and engage in collective action that pressured the government to issue legal certificates of their former homes. These results show how a deep understanding of people's place attachment can make it possible to achieve a successful community relocation.


Post-disaster displacement; Community relocation; Place attachment; Cultural attachment; Risk perception