Migration, housing & disaster: Risk reduction and creation in Southern Italy's Apennines

Lorenzo Guadagno, Eleonora Guadagno
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Outgoing migration flows can influence demand, availability, location and quality of housing in the areas from which they originate, through dynamics such as remittance transfer and investment, cultural change, demographic decline and loss of skilled work. These dynamics may have diverse implications on disaster risk, potentially affecting the occurrence or intensity of some hazardous events and determining the levels of exposure and vulnerability of people and assets.

This paper retraces the evolution of the housing stock as a product of outmigration in San Mango sul Calore and Cavallerizzo di Cerzeto, two mountain villages in Italy's Southern Apennines, in the decades preceding recent disasters. Over the second half of the 20th century, both municipalities witnessed intense outmigration, contributing to the expansion of their respective settlements' housing stock and the abandonment of traditional land-use patterns and building practices. These processes shaped hazard exposure and disaster vulnerability of different people in each community, producing a diversity of risk reduction and risk creation outcomes.

This paper analyses the context-specific migration trajectories and risk outcomes in the two study areas, framing them through the findings of the global literature on migration, development and DRR, to identify theoretical implications and operational approaches relevant to understanding and addressing migration-housing-risk dynamics. Its insights can support risk reduction in places experiencing intense population outflows and related demographic and physical transformations.